Mumbai: A Powai-based youth was duped to the tune of Rs. 2.54 lakhs in fake friend-in-need requests – cybercrime. The victim, Ankush Soni, works at LogiNext Solutions, based in Vikhroli. On February 6, Soni received a message on his WhatsApp from an unknown number, who said his name was Divyansh Thakur. Thakur told Soni that they studied together at UPES Engineering College in Dehradun (Uttarakhand). Soni checked Thakur’s WhatsApp profile picture and instantly recognised him, hence he continued to chat with him.
After a bunch of regular conversations, Thakur told Soni about how his father was unwell and needed surgery for the same. He said he was in desperate need of Rs. 1 lakh for the operation and asked Soni if he could lend the money. Soni, as a gesture to help his long-lost friend, sent Rs. 95,000 to him via UPI. After some time, Thakur asked for more money, but since Soni’s bank limit had been exceeded, he asked his friend Pawan Kumar to send Rs. 60,000 to Thakur. Thakur asked for more money, hence Soni asked his other friend Ayush Srivastav to send Thakur Rs. 40,000.
'Friend' Kept Asking For Money:
After Soni ran out of his friends to do the needful, when Thakur asked for Rs. 50,000, he used his other bank account to send the amount. When Thakur asked for more, Soni told him he had run out of money, and suggested he contact one of their mutual friends named Atul Garg to seek help.
The next day Soni contacted Atul Garg to check if he helped Thakur financially. Garg told Soni that he received a similar message from Thakur, but since Garg already had another number saved (of Thakur) on his mobile phone, he called him. “Atul Garg contacted Thakur to ask about how his father was doing, and to know more about the situation when the real Divyansh Thakur said a fraud has been contacting his friends to dupe money, and that his father was completely well,” said a police official.
Victim Lodged Online Complaint:
The victim, Soni, after hearing from Garg, immediately registered an online complaint with the National Cyber Crime Portal and later on Friday he approached the Parksite police to file an FIR against unknown persons. In total, Soni lost Rs. 2.45 lakhs in this scam.
“In cases like this, people should contact the person first in real-time before sending any amount, or even credentials, if that is asked. Cybercrimes where they pose as relatives or friends have been on the rise, and they are successful in it because an emergency text from a close one makes the victim vulnerable and they promptly attempt to help out before thinking rationally. We are probing the matter further,” said the officer.