Mumbai: A 42-year-old nurse from a hospital in Parel was duped of Rs 4 lakh when her Facebook friend made her to pay the money towards "customs duty" for the gifts that he assured her.
According to the police, Shama (name changed), received an FB friend request from Frank William on June 17. Although she initially ignored the request, he messaged her on WhatsApp after finding her number in her FB account.
Shama's FB profile suggests that she's a COVID19 warrior. William praised her for doing such good work and told her that even his kid daughter admires her a lot. He shared photographs of his daughter and his house in Scotland in order to gain her trust and told her that he is a wealthy person.
A day later, Shama accepted his FB request and both chatted for a while. Next day, William called her and told that it's his daughter's birthday on June 21. He also told her that he has bought gifts for Shama as well, which includes gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs 50 lakh.
On June 22, Shama received a call from a woman who introduced herself as a 'customs officer'. She told her that some gifts have arrived for her from Scotland and narrated the list of items. The list perfectly matched with the list of gifts her FB friend mentioned. The 'customs officer', however, told her that customs duty for the gifts had not been paid. As per her instruction, Shama first paid Rs 35,000 and Rs 90,000 on following day.
A day later, the same 'customs officer' again called her and claimed a penalty worth Rs 2.8 lakh needed to be paid since the gifts are expencive. Shama then paid Rs 2.8 lakh hoping to receiving the gifts. However, she did not receive anything. She continuously tried calling 'customs officer' and her FB friend as well. But both stopped responding.
After waiting for few days, Shama approached Bhoiwada police and registered her complaint. "An offence of cheating and under the Information Technology Act has been registered. However, no arrest has been made so far," said a police officer.