Bhayandar: Accepting a friendship request and trusting a stranger on Facebook (FB) cost a 48-year-old married woman more than Rs30 lakh in 10 days.
According to the police, the woman (name withheld), a housewife, a Mira Road resident, stated in her police complaint registered on Thursday that she came in contact with a man, who identified himself as Pilot Patrick, a London resident, through FB last month. Soon, the two exchanged mobile numbers and frequently chatted on instant messaging apps.
Despite her reluctance, Patrick expressed his desire to send her expensive gifts. A week later, a person posing as a custom officer from New Delhi called up the complainant informing her of the arrival of her parcel, but asked her to pay Rs2,100 to obtain it.
Not suspecting amiss, she made the payment, but was shocked to receive a series of notices on her WhatsApp number tagged with threats and accusations of money laundering, tax evasion and other violations.
To keep legal hassles at bay, the complainant claimed to have paid Rs30,24,447 towards penalties through multiple transfers in different bank accounts as instructed by the unidentified callers. Realising she had been duped, the woman registered a complaint with the Thane (rural) police, who are trying to trace the details of the bank accounts in which the money had been deposited.
“We have registered a case of cheating against the fraudsters and further investigations were underway,” said an officer, appealing to people not to trust online friend requests from strangers blindly.
A series of similar frauds have been reported at various police stations in the twin-city in the past couple of months, however almost all the cases have remain unsolved.
By Suresh Golani