Social Media and Matrimonial Sites for massive duping: Criminals Busted

Two Nigerian nationals were arrested in New Delhi for allegedly luring about a dozen of women through matrimonial and social networking sites and prompt them to transfer money into fake bank accounts in the name of customs duty on gifts they planned to send them.

Earlier also, similar cases were reported and with a wide news coverage in New Delhi, in which the modus operandi was the same. It appears that social network, especially the matrimonial sites have become happy hunting ground for finding easy prey to fulfil their criminal intentions. Joint commissioner of crime police Ravindra Yadav reported that they had arrested Ozoemena Micheal Izu(29) and Ekwenze Friday(33) and seized them from three mobile phones, laptops and a register containing details about several of their victims. It was found that the duo was residing in Mahavir Enclave and have been living in India without valid visas.

The story of how they were found revolves around the complaint registered by one of the duped women. She had apparently received an “expression of interest” from one Dr Ronal Howard to her profile on matrimonial site. Compelled by a request from a foreigner, she decided to step further into the matter to build a relation with the gentleman, who was apparently a Seattle-based doctor looking for an Indian bride. Falling blindly into the trap, she got closer to Howard and found it interesting that both had similar hobbies and interests (stalking Howard’s fake Facebook profile). It wasn’t long before that Howard struck, claiming that he was going to Spain for a short trip and said he wanted to courier some gifts from there before flying in. Few days later, the woman got a call from a customs duty officer, who asked her to pay duty on goods sent for her. The gifts sent for her were, according to the officer, amounted to 10 lakh and included an iPhone and jewellery along with various other stuffs. After wiring about Rs.43,000 for the custom fee, Howard disappeared from her life. It was only when she got another call regarding revised fee amounting to 1.8 lakh that she got suspicious and inquired from the Mumbai customs and later, the police, who confirmed that she was duped.

In the above case the victim was a plain-hearted woman. Even the E-commerce giant, Flipkart was recently duped by four men from Telangana’s Warrangal district in which they ordered high-end cell phones, replacing them with fake ones and claiming refund. Concerned over the rising incidents of unscrupulous elements duping the public, even the RBI asked the banks to take appropriate actions so that people should not respond to unsolicited offers through e-mails and phone calls. Even while in sympathy with the victims, it depicts a lack of awareness about the on-going fraudulent activities by the cyber- gangsters, particularly in this age of cyber-crime in all its manifestations which are coming to light day in and day out. Finally, in this age, even in the matter of heart one should not have one’s head in the clouds and end up with such heart-rending consequence.

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