she transferred several instalments to Singh
An Indian teenager was tricked into buying Instagram followers, resulting in her father losing Rs. 55,000 (£560).
The incident – believed to be a cash-for-followers scam – happened in Mumbai.
The 16-year-old had received a follow request on Instagram from a user named ‘Sonali Singh’. She accepted the request.
On March 1, 2023, the girl received a message from Singh, who claimed to be an old classmate.
The victim believed her and the pair struck up a conversation.
Singh then claimed she could help her increase her follower count to 50,000, asking the teenager to pay Rs. 2,000 (£20).
The girl only had around Rs. 600 (£6.15) but she transferred it to Singh, unaware that it was a scam.
After transferring the money, she did not hear anything back for four days. After the four days, Singh messaged the girl again, saying that the Rs. 600 was not enough to increase the follower count to 50,000.
Reportedly desperate to increase her number of Instagram followers, the girl agreed to pay more money.
Since she did not have enough money, she used her father’s digital wallet to pay the scammer.
Starting with Rs. 4,000 (£41), she transferred several instalments to Singh, eventually totalling more than Rs. 55,000.
The girl began to suspect something was wrong when she discovered that her follower count remained the same.
She tried to contact Singh but did not receive a reply.
When her father went to check his digital wallet, he found it to be empty.
When he questioned his daughter, she admitted that she had paid an Instagram user named ‘Sonali Singh’ in exchange for 50,000 Instagram followers.
The father and the daughter then approached Vanrai Police Station and filed a complaint.
According to police, the teenager made eight transactions totalling Rs. 55,128.
It was reported that the girl expected to receive the new Instagram followers after making the payment.
A case was registered and in a statement, the police said:
“We have registered a case of cheating and impersonation under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and of the Information Technology Act and are trying to trace the UPI ID, where the girl transferred the money.”
The investigation is underway and Mumbai’s cybercrime cell are working to identify the person behind the Instagram account ‘Sonali Singh’.
There have been a number of cases in which Indian citizens have been conned after being promised something.
In one case, a man lost Rs. 75 Lakh after being promised he would get to meet actress Kajal Aggarwal.