Hyderabad: Targeting netizens who seek companionship on online sites, fraudsters have been impersonating women and collecting money purportedly in return for companionship while in reality, they’re only cheating their victims.
A cyber crime police official said that a majority of the victims were found to be between 20 and 30 years old, mostly introverts.
“Most cyber fraudsters have been found to target individuals who are passive in the real world but search for fulfillment in the virtual world,” he said.
While some victims have lost not very large sums of money, some have ended up losing up to millions. In many instances, victims who approached the police withdrew after being asked to file formal complaints, the official added.
Just one week ago, the Rachakonda cyber crime police received a complaint from a student in his early 20s stating that he had been duped of Rs 14.5 lakh under the pretext of dating services.
The victim, Krishna (name changed), a resident of LB Nagar, is currently pursuing his graduation. He was browsing the web for dating services when he came across a website which he found particularly interesting. To enrol himself on the site and procure a unique login ID and password, he provided all his personal details to the website in its registration form.
Upon registration, Krishna began receiving phone calls and emails from strangers, who asked him to pay a certain sum of money to complete the registration process.
They provided a bank account number to him where they asked him to transfer the money. Krishna complied as directed following which, he received a phone call and was told about a legal card which he would require in order to establish himself as a legal user of the dating service. He was then asked to pay for the card as well.
Krishna ended up transferring around `14.56 lakhs in total to the aforesaid bank account, only to realise later that he had been duped when the strangers stopped responding to his phone calls.
Subsequently, he approached the police and lodged a complaint.
In another case in Cyberabad, a man working with the state government lodged a complaint that he had ended up paying `5.45 lakhs to some strangers for dating services. The victim was told about a legal agreement, a police protection card, and an identification card before he was asked to deposit the money. “At least 90 per cent of those who offer dating services through applications and websites do so with fraudulent intent. They lure their victims using random pictures, charge money for registration and other purposes and then, abscond with the money,” a senior cyber crime police official said. “While some such dating websites have been found to be operated from overseas, some are simply un-verified third-party applications. Cases have been registered into all the complaints that we have received so far, and further investigation is underway,” the official added.
The Cyberabad police in December 2018 arrested a gang of five persons for defrauding their victims using a fake dating website which they were operating from Siliguri, West Bengal....