Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
These two stunning influencers have been arrested for taking part in an online scam that defrauded many of their followers.
Police teams carried out simultaneous raids in the Turkish provinces of Izmir, Istanbul, Ankara, Kastamonu, Karabuk, Malatya and Mersin, and detained 20 people on 9th November.
Among those arrested were influencers Simge Barankoglu, who boasts nearly 1 million Instagram followers, and Yesim Aydin, who has 161,000 Insta fans.
According to the news site Haberler, the gang scammed netizens by informing them that they had won a cash prize on a social media game, but could only claim it by paying a certain amount in taxes first.
During the coordinated police raids, officers seized a number of computers, mobile phones, USD memory sticks, SD cards, and other equipment allegedly used in the online scam.
The 20 suspects are accused of defrauding 250 people across Turkey for around TRY 3 million (GBP 222,870) during a six-month period.
Eighteen of the suspects, including Barankoglu and Aydin, have been placed in custody while two have been released on judicial conditions.
Barankoglu said in a statement: “I make a living by doing advertising on social media. I thought this was like any other advert. I do not know the parties and the complainants. I do not accept the accusations.”
Aydin said: “I make a living with social media adverts. These people contacted me and said they wanted to work with me. I accepted because that’s my job. I would never have accepted it if I knew that fraud was being committed.”
She added: “The police told me that the names given to me were fake. I didn’t try to defraud anyone. I did not contact anyone, I did not ask for money. I just got the advertising fee. I am very sorry.”
The investigation continues.