Hyderabad: Following several complaints, the Cyberabad police issued an advisory on 14 September warning people against frauds committed in the name of escort services and dating applications.

Recently, a man received a text that said a married woman was looking for a date. The text read, “Married lady needs gyms meeting & dating get min. 30k per date call now (sic).” He called the number given and was subsequently connected to Preethi.

He was then asked to pay a certain amount as registration charge, The man paid Rs. 34,015 as security deposit through Phonepe. Later, he received a call from a man who said he was a driver and asked for Rs. 20,000. When the man refused, the driver threatened to kill him following which the man filed a police complaint. A case was registered under various sections of the IPC and the IT Act and investigation is underway.

According to the police, the fraudsters send messages to people, offering them dating packages and charging them different rates for registration on different dating sites like Locanto.com and Tinder. The fraudsters claim they can provide escort services at any time and any place based on the customer’s choice. They then extract money from the customers.

The fraudsters sometimes make video calls and chat with the customers. Later, they start recording the victims without their knowledge and threaten to upload the videos on social media if they do not pay money.

The fraudsters also have another modus operandi. They lure the victims by claiming they can arrange a meeting or date with women and provide a phone number. They ask the victims to make an initial payment for registration and once the victims pay the amount they try to extract more money on the pretext of security fee or safety deposit. Eventually, when the victims try to avoid making further payments, they start blackmailing them.

The Cyberabad police, in the advisory, warned people against the fraudsters and asked them not to respond to messages or calls from unknown persons on the pretext of dating/meeting. Do not click on links from unknown persons and do not reveal your account/card details to anyone, the advisory said. It also asked people not to share personal information or personal photos/videos with anybody and to avoid transferring money to unknown accounts. Beware of the calls you receive from unknown numbers, it warned.

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