He was an imposter who blackmailed me with the threat that he would sell my pictures to the highest bidder

Shabri Prasad Singh
man watching woman in nude

I fell in love as a child

On 31st October 1993, a young and charismatic genuine soul died. Halloween became unbearable for me ever since. I was 9 years old and a part of my soul just died when the talented actor River Phoenix died. Years later I started researching on lonely nights, being sleep deprived, about River. He was the eldest son born to hippie parents and lived in poverty. He had four siblings. They used to play the guitar on the streets to earn some money. A vegan and an environmental activist all his life, he captured my heart and I began to believe we were meant to be. Alas, he was no more, so I kept him in my heart and locked the door.

river phoenix

River phoenixImage source

So I believed the guy who said he was his brother

Years later, an imposter pretending to be his younger brother Joaquin Phoenix contacted me on Instagram. He professed love and devotion. He played on my vulnerability and I believed this was destiny. River had sent his younger brother to love and adore me a way a woman deserved to be loved. We chatted for days and in my erotomania, I began to believe that this was Joaquin. He was not.

When I called him out, the imposter and cyber criminal showed his true colours. He blackmailed me for $5000, as in my emotional stupidity I sent him some intimate pictures of mine. He emailed me, threatening me he will expose me to the Indian media, ruin my writing career and sell my pictures to the highest bidder. I shrank in shame and went to the cyber crime department and wrote an official complaint.

Related reading: What are your legal options when breakup leads to revenge porn?

It was a hard fight

Now he has been caught. The procedure to get him caught was hard, but I said to myself, “Let’s fight.” At first, my parents were very upset with me. I took the help of another writer friend and Googled the address of the cyber cell in New Delhi, which is located at Mandir Marg. Although I come from an influential background, I thought I was alone in this. I stood in line and registered an official complaint. They did not ask me many questions. They just made me write an application and the details of the incident, addressed to the Deputy Commissioner, Cyber Crime Cell. I did not know what was happening after I registered the complaint and went home in shambles. I cried for days.

My dad followed up with the commissioner about the complaint and used his sources and intelligence to locate this criminal through his IP address and caught this psychopath.

My hero Dad saved the day and saved not just me, as the criminal was doing the same thing to many girls, pretending to be a celebrity. His modus operandi was to lure them with manipulative love promises and then extract money from his prey when he gathered something sensitive on them.

Never suffer in silence

Even if you are not from an influential background, you must fight these criminals and register complaints. There is no shame in falling prey; the real shame is if we do nothing about it.

There is no shame in falling prey; the real shame is if we do nothing about it.

Let’s have faith in the police. Let’s be aware that if something is too good to be true, maybe it is not true. Yes, I made a mistake, but I learnt a lesson from it. Don’t trust someone online, unless you personally know them.
Related reading: Addresses of Cyber Crime Cells in India

The effects of cyber crimes on people

1. You stop believing in love, as you gave your soul to this person thinking he is someone else and you are shattered once you come back to reality.
2. The post-event trauma has you bound in depression and anxiety, which become your reality mixed with paranoia.
3. There are millions of cyber criminals or psychopaths out there who can manipulate you into believing they are who they are pretending to be, and an after effect is that you are doomed to love the person they pretended to be, even if it’s not real.

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Aryan Ghosh
Aryan Ghosh August 9, 2018 - 4:33 pm

Interesting line, ‘There is no shame in falling prey; the real shame is if we do nothing about it.’

Ashutosh Singh
Ashutosh Singh July 14, 2018 - 3:17 am

Great thing that the woman gave a fight and this time it was so strong that she got succeeded. Gathering the courage is something adorable. Good thing woman.

Lamia Manohar
Lamia Manohar July 13, 2018 - 8:10 pm

Cyber crimes of this sort is a commonality these days. So glad to hear someone stating out what happened and also proud of you for having had the courage to fight against the wrong. Women and young girls need to be further educated and be made aware of such crimes, to which, the female populous often fall prey to.

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