An elderly man residing in Vasant Kunj became a victim of a sextortion scam, losing Rs 7 lakhs to cybercriminals who posed as Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana. The incident involved explicit video chats, extortion demands, and impersonation of high-ranking officials. The fraudsters exploited the victim’s fear by claiming to possess compromising video footage and manipulated evidence. The Delhi Police have launched an investigation to apprehend those responsible for this cybercrime.
The Sextortion Scam:
KN Joshi, a 75-year-old resident of Vasant Kunj, was deceived by cybercriminals through an explicit video chat, followed by an extortion demand. The scam began when Joshi received a message from a woman named Anjali Sharma, who initiated a video call during which a woman appeared nude. The call abruptly ended after a few minutes, leaving Joshi confused and vulnerable.
Manipulated Video and Threats:
Two days later, on January 17, Anjali shared a manipulated obscene video of Joshi and threatened to make it go viral on social media unless he paid Rs 61,000. Alarmed by the threat, Joshi promptly blocked the number to protect himself from further harassment.
Impersonation of Delhi Police Commissioner:
In an attempt to intensify the coercion, one of the scammers impersonated former Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana, who retired in July 2022. On January 25, Joshi received a missed call from an unknown number, purportedly belonging to Asthana. When he returned the call, the person on the other end claimed to be Asthana and mentioned having information about Joshi’s video call with Anjali.
Elaborate Fabrications and Bribery Demands:
The impersonator posing as Asthana informed Joshi that Anjali’s real name was Neha and that she was a drug smuggler. To support this claim, the impersonator provided Joshi with a copy of the First Information Report (FIR). The fraudsters fabricated elaborate stories, introducing Joshi to a person named Ajay Kumar Ghagat, claiming he was an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). They insisted that Joshi pay Rs 2 lakhs as a bribe (“chai pani” in colloquial terms).
Emotional Manipulation and Additional Extortion:
To further manipulate Joshi, the ACP shared a video of a deceased person, falsely claiming that Anjali’s mother had committed suicide. Joshi was then instructed to deposit Rs 4 lakhs into Anjali’s account. Over the course of three different dates, Joshi paid a total of Rs 7,34,500 to the fraudsters, hoping to end his ordeal.
Modus Operandi of the Scammers:
The investigating police officer revealed that the fraudsters employed pre-recorded explicit videos of women, which they played during video calls to deceive their victims. These videos tricked recipients into believing they were interacting with real women, who would then request indecent acts. The criminals recorded the victims’ actions and threatened to make the recordings viral on social media unless a payment was made.
Exploiting Fear and Impersonating Police Officers:
The officer further noted instances where individuals received calls but refused to participate in any indecent acts. However, the scammers still recorded their video calls and morphed the content into obscene material. They would then demand payment from the victims, threatening to make the explicit videos viral on social media.
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