When actor Karan Singh Grover received a message from Audi Motors from United Kingdom saying he had won Rs 4.31 crore, he did not suspect it to be a fraud. Within days, the 33-year-old lost Rs 7.70 lakh to claim the ‘prize money’.
A man suspected to be a member of a Nigerian group contacted the actor, pretending to be the general manager of the company, the police said.
It took a while for Grover to realise he was being taken for a ride. The actor did not get suspicious even when he was asked to pay more than Rs 4 lakh to get an ‘anti-terrorism certificate by the United Nations’, declaring that the money will not be used for terrorism activates.
In his FIR, a copy of which was accessed by HT, the actor said he had received an SMS claiming he had won a lottery on May 13. To claim the money, he had to send a confirmation email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grover sent the email and was then told that Morgan Smith, the general manager, was in Delhi with the prize money.
As identity proof, the actor sent them a copy of his licence. The next day, Smith asked him to deposit Rs 24,000 to agent Harjit Singh’s bank account for custom clearance.
Grover then received an email from the New Delhi branch of Royal Bank of Scotland stating that a current account had been opened in his name and Rs 4.31 crore had been deposited by Audi Motors.
The email said Grover could transfer the money to his account and contact one Gracy Joshi in case of any queries. “When Grover tried to transfer the cash, he could not proceed as the system asked him for cost of transaction code. He called up Joshi who asked him to deposit Rs 98,000 for securing the code,” said a police officer, adding, “He had to make more deposits for the tax code and demurrage code.”
On May 20, Smith called Grover and told him that he needed to get a certificate from the United Nations Anti-Terrorism Department and needed to deposit Rs 4.06 lakh.
The actor finally realised he was being cheated when, on May 22, he was told to pay Rs 12 lakh tax on the prize money, the officer said.
Grover did not respond to HT’s calls and text messages. In his complaint, he said he deposited money in the accounts of Mayank Kumar, Vinod Sharma, Sunil Kumar, Mahesh Kumar and Manish Kumar.
Grover first approached the BKC cyber police station and was referred to Khar police station.
The police registered a case under the relevant sections of the IPC and the Information Technology Act.