In a significant development, the Mumbai Police have busted a world racket involving the creation of faux profiles on social media and other fraudulent activities within the social media marketing business, and nabbed one person during this connection, commissioner Param Bir Singh said on Tuesday.
The accused was nabbed with analytical teaching (technological-intelligence) and thru sources, the Crime Branch swooped in Gauri Shankar Nagar in Kurla suburb and arrested the accused. He has been remanded to police custody till July 17.
Investigations reveal that the accused is a component of a bigger global fraud racket which involves creating crores of faux identities on various social media platforms and making fake performance statistics like fake followers, fake comments, fake views, etc., to inflate the influencers’ performance statistics.
Given the large ramifications of the unfolding probe, Singh has announced the formation of a Special Investigation Team of CIU and Cyber Cell under Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection), Nandkumar Thakur, to unravel and curb these malpractices.
This will be the first-ever SIT of such a sort which will investigate the illegal aspects of social media marketing businesses operating in violation of the IT Act, said Singh.
The captain said that the accused has thus far created over half-a-million fake followers for 176 profiles of Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and other social media platforms to fraudulently project them as influencers, through manual operations or using certain illegal software called ‘bots’.
The lid the mega-scam was blown off following a complaint by Bollywood playback singer Bhoomi Trivedi, who approached Singh on Saturday (July 11), demanding action after some unknown person/s purportedly created her fake profile on Instagram and the way they were approaching other film personalities to make such profiles for them.
Singh directed the Crime Branch to research and Joint Commissioner of Police, V.K. Choubey, ordered the Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) to require up the probe, whilst a case was registered with the Bangurnagar police headquarters in Goregaon.
The probe revealed that by manipulating the prevailing systems of respective social networks, these racketeers posted such fake followers, and over 100 portals are reportedly involved in these frauds everywhere India. The arrested accused worked for one such portal, www.followerskart.com, consistent with the police.
The commissioner said that this is often the primary time such a racket with international ramifications has been busted within the country, and such fake profiles and followers also are getting used to making rumors and panic within the society.
The CIU probe found that quite 100 such Social Media Marketing (SMM) portals provide fake followers etc. through fake identities and/or bots, and therefore the scamsters operate through Indian and international Internet networks and servers.
The CIU has already identified 54 such Indian portals and now the action is being initiated against them, he said.
(with inputs from nationalheraldindia)