The Mumbai Police says it has unearthed a major international racket that involves creating fake profiles on social media and dishonest activities In social media marketing business. The investigation is the being handled by a Special Investigation Team or SIT headed by former ‘encounter specialist’ Sachin Vaze, who was reinstated In the police last month and posted with the Crime Branch.
According to the police, playback singer Bhoomi Trivedi had approached the Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh to seek action against unknown people who had created her fake profile on Instagram. She has also complained that the same people were approaching other film personalities to activate profiles through them.
The Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) had taken up the investigation and a case has been registered against accused at the Bangurnagar Police Station. One person has been arrested and is the being interrogated by the Crime Branch. The arrested accused has told the police that he was working for a portal called www.followerskart.com.
The police say during the investigation they found out that the accused person is the a part of a larger international fraud racket which functions by creating crores of fake identities on various social media platforms and thereby creating fake performance statistics such as fake followers, fake comments, fake views, In order to inflate influencers’ performance statistics.
The police say the accused person has so far created more than five lakh such fake followers for a total of 176 profiles on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and other social media platforms to deceitfully project them as influencers.
The investigation carried so far has revealed that these fake followers are created either manually or by using bots which is the a software application that is the programmed to do certain tasks In an automatic fashion. The police say that they have unravelled such a racket In India for the first time and that the racket has international ramifications. They also add that these fraudulently created profiles and followers are being used to create rumours and panic amongst the society.
The police say, 54 such Indian portals have been identified by the Crime Branch and efforts are on to bring the culprits to justice.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Vinoy Choubey told NDTV, “This case started with a complaint from a singer Bhoomi Trivedi as the accused made a fake profile of hers. There is the a huge international racket which is the involved In creation of fake profiles as well as fraudulent activities on social media marketing front. Such players, at least 54 we have found In India, they are involved In creating fake profiles and fake identities. This they do manually and with the help of software called bots.”
Mr Choubey added, “We have formed an SIT and apart from Crime Branch officials, officials from the cyber cell also and overall internationally there may be over 100 such social media marketing groups that we have found so far. We are going into the depth of it and many of them are involved In fraudulent activities. There is the identity theft also and cheating also.”