Pune: A 37-year-old doctor who stays in Shirur was cheated to the tune of Rs 7.93 lakh. The incident took place between June 13 and July 5 this year. As per the complaint filed by the victim at Shirur police station, he received a message from a Facebook friend who sought his help for exchanging foreign currency.
The complainant told the police that his Facebook friend identified himself to be from Birmingham, England. Later, the accused asked the victim to deposit money in different SBI accounts and the victim did as instructed, only to find that he has been scammed. The victim paid Rs 7.93 lakh in all to the accused.
In another case, a college student accepted a friend request from a girl who identified herself to be from Afghanistan. The boy, who hails from Yavat in Pune district, started chatting with her and they became friends. The girl said she works in rescue operations in Afghanistan. After a few days, she said she and her three friends have stumbled upon three million US dollars and are going to split the amount. The girl told the boy that she needs to have a bank account to transfer the amount and keep it safe. She insisted that the boy open a bank account and she would share thirty per cent of the amount with him.
The boy got lured with the offer, and the girl asked him to deposit Rs 2.93 lakh for various processes to transfer her share to the boy’s account. The boy told his parents he needed the money as he was about to get a job. After gathering the amount, he did as instructed but did not receive any money. He then approached Yavat police and lodged a case of cheating.
The above incidents are some of the cases where people have been cheated through virtual friends. Many people from Pune rural area accept new technology including social media, but are unaware of the existence of hidden fraudsters. Officials of Cyber Crime Cell (CCC) of Pune rural police said that though people have started using social media like Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media platforms, they are reluctant to learn the rules. “We have found many instances were people are making fake Facebook profiles to cheat others and spoil someone’s reputation. People should understand that it is a virtual world where fraudsters are present,” said Assistant Police Inspector Mahesh Chavan of CCC.
Similarly, the police advise that social media should be used cautiously and sharing or liking of defamatory posts should be avoided. “Though such incidents have not been reported recently, people should always be careful while using social media,” said Chavan.
Officials of CCC said that after card frauds, social media crimes and email spoofing crimes are major methods of cheating. Chavan said two companies in Chakan and Paud lost crores of rupees due to email spoofing frauds. “There are many industrial units in Pune rural area and so people should be alert to avert such crimes,” added Chavan.