Hyderabad: People looking for matches on matrimonial sites need to be extremely careful about whom they trust. Cyber fraudsters have come up with innovative ways of conning and exploiting them.
K.C.S. Raghu Vir, additional deputy commissioner of police (Cybercrime) of Hyderabad, says, “Usually, such criminals target middle-aged women, divorcees, and employees of IT companies, who are quite well-to-do.” He says that they collect their victims’ data from social networking websites.
There are three main ways in which matrimonial frauds are perpetrated. In the first, a group of people set up a marriage bureau, which they operate from a small room, and they publish advertisements in the paper. When people approach them seeking alliances, they charge a fee for the service, in advance.
They present the alliance-seekers with options that they are sure to reject. Then they refuse to return the fee saying that they have done their job of presenting prospective alliances and that it is not their fault that the alliance-seeker has rejected all of them.
In the second modus operandi, the perpetrator creates profiles under a fake name on social media sites, and sends friend requests to women, claiming to be from a foreign country. Over time, he gains confidence of his victims and convinces them that he intends to marry them. He tells them that he would like to send them expensive gifts from abroad. After a few days, the victims receive calls from persons claiming to be airport officials.
They are told that gifts have arrived for them from abroad, but they are held up in customs. They are also told that they will receive their parcels after they deposit a clearance fee. Gullible victims often end up depositing the money, and never hear from the perpetrator again.
The third way in which criminals dupe people is by posing as government officials on matrimonial sites. They identify victims, gain their confidence, and promise to marry them. A few days later, they say that they have met with an accident and that they urgently need some cash. Once again, after their victims make the deposit, they terminate all contact with them.
Mr Vir says, “Time and again we warn people to be extremely careful, but they seem to turn a deaf ear to what we say. This is one of the reasons why we have not been able to keep such crimes in check.”...