The desire to encash Rs5 crore prize money seemed too tempting for a 22-year-old Kandivli-based engineering student, who eventually ended up losing Rs7.08 lakh chasing the proverbial pot of gold. The cyber police have tracked down one of the accused to Indore, and are interrogating him for leads on others, but the money is yet to be traced.
On February 15, Richa Sharma (name changed to protect identity) received an email from one Eric Donald, claiming she had been selected for a cash prize.
Two days after she filled in the accompanying form, Sharma received a call from Donald seeking Rs24,000 for Customs clearance for the money at Delhi airport. “After she deposited the sum in an account number provided by him, she received an email with a fake RBI logo confirming her prize, and also asking her to pay Rs93,000 for formalities,” said a cyber-police officer.
Sharma made the payment, only to be told later that she would also have to deposit another Rs7.5 lakh to get a character certificate. She eventually shelled out Rs7.08 lakh. Sharma suspected something was amiss when, even after a few months, Donald kept asking for more money.
When Sharma learnt from Microsoft that it had held no such contest, she approached the Bandra-Kurla Complex cyber police headed by joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy.
The police arrested Indore-resident Rajkumar Brijlal Thagele, 32, in whose account Sharma had deposited the money on August 26. Senior inspector of BKC cyber police Nandkishore More said more arrests are likely in the case.