Every good friend of yours must have been a stranger at some point, but that doesn’t mean every stranger will turn into a good friend. Especially not the ones you make online.
A Pune techie residing in Hadapsar had made a new friend on Facebook who claimed to be Sandra Robinson from the UK.
Over time, when they got closer, the woman showed some interest in visiting India and also asked him to be her guardian here. Unfortunately, the guy had no idea what he was getting into when he agreed to be her ‘good friend.’
A few days later, the guy got a call from a man stating that his friend Sandra was detained by customs officials as she had lost some of her documents. As soon as he transferred the amount to bail her out, the woman vanished. When he received no response from her side, he realised he was deceived and filed a complaint against her with the cyber crime cell of Pune police.
“In September last year, the victim got a friend request on Facebook from someone called Sandra. He accepted the request and they began chatting regularly. The woman told the victim that she is a resident of London and asked him to share his mobile number. The victim believed her and shared his contact number. After that, they would often have conversations over the phone. In December, the woman told the victim that she wanted to travel to India as she likes the country, and asked him to be her guardian once there,” said Inspector (Crime) Anjum Bagwan of Hadapsar police station.
He continued, “The man told the victim that they have detained Sandra at the Delhi airport as she had lost some of her documents. The official also told him that the woman was carrying multiple smartphones, laptops, diamond jewellery and some foreign currency with her. He asked the victim to deposit some amount of money if she was to be released. When the victim spoke to the woman, she started crying. So, he deposited around Rs 35,000 into the bank account given by the man.”
After transferring the money, he got another call from a man from Delhi who urged him to pay more for her release. By then he had transferred a total of ₹11,43,500 in different accounts as suggested by the woman through multiple transactions.
“When there was no reply from the woman even after paying the amount, the man got suspicious. On digging deeper, he realised that it was a honey trap. Based on the account numbers given by the victim to us, we found that these bank accounts are from various parts of the country. We are now taking the help of the cyber crime cell to trace the fraudsters,” added Bagwan.
As of now, a case of cheating under sections 419 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code along with other relevant sections of the IT Act against the woman, identified as Sandra Robinson has been registered with the Pune police.