Hyderabad: After social media and fake e-commerce calls, cyber fraudsters have now started targeting clueless victims on the pretext of a romantic relationship on calls or texts.
According to officials of cyber crime department, the crooks impersonating women are approaching people on bulk texts and looting them.
At least two instances are recorded in the city every month but most victims shy away from filing an FIR, police officials say.
“Many people reply to these texts that are sent by fraudsters offering ‘dating packages’ and charging people for registration and a security fee for virtual chats, nude video calls etc.
On the pretext of meeting or talking to women, victims transfer money to these cons,” said S Harinath, ACP of cyber crime Rachakonda.
A man recently lost Rs 34,000 while chatting with a woman for dating purposes. The messages sent to him offered a date with a person named Preethi for Rs 30,000. As the man started chatting with the woman, he was asked to pay registration and security fee of Rs 34,000 to see her pictures.
After the man sent the money, he was asked for more when he grew suspicious and refused to pay. The fraudsters then started blackmailing and threatening him. He then approached the Cyberabad cyber crime police.
“The offenders lure the victims to come on a virtual call and play a pre-recorded video, asking the victim to go for a nude video chat. They later use the video to blackmail the victim for sending more money. If the victim fails to send money, the fraudsters threatens them to upload the video on social media for defaming them,” said Shyam Babu, ACP of cyber crime Cyberabad.
The crooks also trap victims on dating applications like Locanto, Mingle, Tinder etc, offering women escort services to extract money. “An engineering student, on the pretext of finding a female escort on dating app, spent close to Rs 1 lakh,” said ACP Harinath.