Mumbai / Mumbai man gets a Facebook friend invite, loses Rs 4 lakh in elaborate con

Hindustan Times : Sep 17, 2019, 05:01 PM

A 40-year-old man was duped of Rs 4 lakh by two cyber-fraudsters, both women, one of whom befriended him on Facebook posing as a US citizen and the second posed as customs officer from Delhi who said his US friend is detained at the airport for carrying a lot of money and made him pay the money at some or the other pretext.

According to Vile Parle police, the complainant is a food product distributor and registered a formal police complaint with them on September 11.

The businessman told the police he received a Facebook friend request from a woman from her Facebook page, ‘Lovely Karen’ last month. She said she was from Griffin city in Georgia. He accepted her friend request and they started chatting. She then gave him an international number and the two started chatting on WhatsApp.

She said she will be visiting India to start a business with him and promised to stay in touch with him since she didn’t know anyone in the country.

On September 3, she sent him her air ticket saying she will be coming from Delhi on September 6.

But on September 6 he received a phone call from the second woman who identified herself as Puja Sharma, a customs officer from Delhi international airport.

Puja Sharma said his US friend has been detained for bringing in US dollars equivalent to Rs 1 crore. Since this exceeds the permissible limit, the customs officer told him that his friend would be required to pay Rs 4 lakh in fine, money exchange commission and taxes.

The businessman spoke to his friend through the customs officer and was convinced. Since he didn’t have the money on him, he took a few days to arrange Rs 4 lakh and transfer the money. It was only when his friend kept asking for more money that the businessman got suspicious.

He called the Delhi Airport where he was told he has been conned since customs officers do not make calls like these. He rushed to Vile Parle police the same day and lodged a police case. “We are trying to trace the number and the bank account details where the money was transferred by the victim.”