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‘Rs 3,000 fine for watching porn’: How gang duped hundreds of people

Police said the fake notices would say their computer will be “blocked” as they have been caught watching pornographic content which is sexually violent or involves paedophilia. So, they would immediately pay up.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 27, 2021 10:49:31 am
transgender murdered in Mumbai“The man is yet to be questioned in the case and further investigation is on,” said a senior police official of the police station concerned. (Representational)

The Delhi Police Cyber Cell arrested three men who allegedly extorted money from people by telling them they had been found watching porn online and that it’s illegal. The accused allegedly sent fake police notices to their targets, asking them to pay a fine of Rs 3,000 or face legal action.

Police said the gang, whose mastermind operates from Cambodia, managed to extort more than Rs 30 lakh from thousands across the country in the last six months. Police claim they travelled more than 2,000 km in Tamil Nadu for a week to nab the accused.

DCP (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy said, “There were a few complaints online about fake ads and pop-ups warning internet users that they were caught watching pornography and it’s illegal. These notices also had UPI payment and QR code payment options to pay the ‘fines’.”

Police said the fake notices would say their computer will be “blocked” as they have been caught watching pornographic content which is sexually violent or involves paedophilia. So, they would immediately pay up.

During investigation, police found that the notices were routed from foreign locations. Police checked the bank accounts and transactions of the victims and followed the money trail. “We found that the accused received the money in accounts set up in Tamil Nadu. Our team went there but faced many challenges as the accused used bogus addresses. However, they stayed there for a week and raided places in different cities and towns. They managed to apprehend three persons, including local mastermind B Dhinushanth,” said DCP Roy.

Dhinushanth told police that his brother, who lives in Veal Pon in Cambodia, is the brains behind the scam. He is yet to be arrested.

The other accused, Gabrial James and Ram Kumar, are residents of Chennai and allegedly helped the main accused by providing account details and transferring money.

Police have seized 20 bank accounts that were allegedly used to receive money and form a trail to hide transactions. Police suspect more accounts are being used in the scam.

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