Hyderabad: Platforms like Tinder, Match.com, etc., have become a new place for scamsters to target and catfish to extort money. A catfisher scours through the user base, looking for a particularly vulnerable and eager user open to emotional manipulation.
Based on your ‘preference’, the scamsters will make a profile accordingly to connect with you and lure you in, said an official from Hyderabad city police adding that after making a promise to finally ‘meet’, they trot out a need for help for a last-minute problem such as visa processing fees, an inheritance stuck in customs, an unexpected bankruptcy and so on, to loot money.
“I would caution the young generation in particular as they tend to resort to blind dates and accepting friend requests from unknown individuals”, said the Hyderabad Police Commissioner, Anjani Kumar.
“There are ways to check the authenticity of a person approaching to connect with you and the same should be taken up by the public. The same rules go for dating apps as well as social media platforms. There are many such cases wherein people get conned easily,” said the official.
Single mothers and single women in their middle-age are the most vulnerable. The cheats usually target middle-aged women. “The victims are divorcees, widows or unmarried women in their 30s and 40s. The scamsters pretend to be younger than them and claim to be MNC employees or NRIs,” he said.
“They give emotional support to the victims and send gifts to impress them. Single women, who do not have elders to verify or check the background of prospective grooms they meet online, might get persuaded,” said an investigator of matrimony fraud cases in Hyderabad city police.
Explaining the Modus Operandi, the official said that the pattern observed in these cases was inevitably the same. “Once the scamster makes contact with the ‘target’ on one of these platforms, the acquaintance is taken forward on other social media platforms, such as Facebook, where fake accounts have been created to match their dating profiles. Having gained the trust of the target, the scamster demands money on the pretext of paying medical bills of a sick parent or by promising marriage or future dates. However, soon after the transactions are made, the impostor disappears and becomes a ghost,” he said.
Men too have faced such incidents wherein women masquerade as damsels in distress to dupe them. Earlier, Cyber Crime Police had arrested one Y. Srilatha alias Sushmitha, from Bangalore, who had trapped and conned men and made them transfer more than `1.5 lakh within a week. “She claims that she has a property in Bangalore worth about `30 crore and asks their help to clear some family feud regarding the said property,” said the DCP, Detective Department, CCS, Avinash Mohanty.
Earlier this April, a Hyderabad man was duped by a woman he met online, who claimed to be from Singapore. The victim, a resident of LB Nagar, said that he got a friend request on Facebook from the woman which he accepted.
The ‘terms and condition’ posted by such apps state that it is the user’s responsibility. Police thus say it’s not possible to take action against websites due to this. Most websites have included these sentences in their terms and conditions: ‘As with all technology companies, although we take steps to secure information, we do not promise, that your personal information remains secure.’...