Gurgaon: Using stolen Facebook/Instagram photos, this man scammed people
Starting with an innocuous friend request to strangers on Facebook, or a follow request on Instagram, Akash Choudhary from Gurgaon had acquired a modest fortune and was living a comfortable life, until now. Using pictures of young women from social media to create fake profiles, Choudhary had duped several men into paying him money. But that's not all. Here's all about this scam.
Using the fake profiles he created, Choudhary would reach out to men to lure them into paying money into his e-wallet in return for an interesting chat and more. Reportedly, Choudhary took up to Rs. 70,000 from just one businessman in Mumbai. While the total number of men duped into paying isn't known yet, police estimate it to be around 20.
As the 34-year-old commerce graduate started gaining followers on his fake accounts, he used them to promote several products like shoes, watches, sunglasses, and even a cab service. One of his fake profiles even had over 1 million followers. Police estimate that Choudhary was in touch with at least 5-7 companies, and took money from them to promote their products on social media.
However, his success proved to be his demise. A woman from Lajpat Nagar in Delhi came across her own pictures on Instagram, and realized that someone was using stolen photos to create fake profiles. She had known about them since 2017, and when she asked for her fake profile to be taken down, Choudhary threatened to post her photos on an escort service website.
Under Choudhary's threats, the woman had initially given in. However, in January, she lodged a complaint with the police. Police were able to trace Choudhary to Gurgaon where he and his father had also started a meat selling business. Choudhary initially denied the allegations, but later confessed when his mobile phones, laptops, and bank accounts were investigated. He was arrested for nine violations.