The web of deceit

DECCAN CHRONICLE | PRIYANKA PRAVEEN
Published Jul 11, 2015, 4:26 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 2:20 pm IST
Quite a few families have lately been conned on matrimony websites by Nigerians
Representational image
 Representational image
Hyderabad: Ever come across advertisements for grooms on matrimony websites  that seem too good to be true? Well, many of them are just that, fake. There are quite a few fake accounts on these websites that are created for the sole purpose of duping women and their families.
 
Assistant Commissioner of Police, Cyber Crime Cell, B. Anuradha says that on an average at least two such cases are reported every month. “There has been a rise in such cases since last year. Earlier matrimony scams did not exist. This is a modus operandi of a gang of Nigerians,” she says, adding, “Close to eight-10 matrimony fraud cases have been reported since last year.”
 
News broke on Friday about a woman falling prey to such a scam. A Nigerian posing as Dr Abhishek Mohan contacted her through Bharatmatrimony.com and told her that he was a doctor in Britain. He then sent her a gift parcel, which was so “expensive” that she had to pay `40 lakh to a customs official. The entire set-up was, of course, fake and she lost her money.
 
“The way these gangs operate is very simple. Their target groups are women who are rich, lonely, divorcees and even older women who are more vulnerable to fall for such scams,” explains Anuradha. Earlier this week, there was news of another woman being duped of Rs 48 lakh. It was a similar scenario and the person who got in touch with the victim also claimed to be a Dr Mohan. “The stories are the same, the person committing the fraud poses as either a rich businessman or a doctor from abroad,” adds Anuradha.
 
Krish* from the city, whose sister was duped, says, “My sister met someone through a matrimony website and he told her that he was a doctor in the war-torn region of Afghanistan. He was tired of his job and he wanted to move back to Hyderabad.” As part of his plan to move to the city, the man told Krish’s sister that he would send her money with someone to start a business. “But after a day we got a call saying that the messenger had been stopped at the customs in the airport. The guy asked my sister to help him out by paying money to the official, with the promise of returning the money. Despite my protests, she paid him close to Rs 5 lakh, and the next day the guy went missing,” he rues.
 
However, Krish and his family couldn’t approach the police as his father had been kept out of the picture, as they feared for his health. According to the police these fraudsters come across as extremely genial. “Their plans are so well formulated. They talk to a person with love, show them that they are interested, gain their trust and then do this.
 
However, these scams don’t last for more than two-three months. The person committing the fraud needs to establish trust, but can’t drag the scam for long because chances of getting caught gets higher,” says SP Cyber Crime, T.K. Rana.
 
Anuradha adds, “The onus of keeping their clients safe lies with the websites. But people too should be aware. These sort of scams have been going on for a long time, it’s just that the fraudsters are expanding their network.”
(*Name changed on request.)
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