A 42-year-old Andheri resident, a senior executive with a private firm at Vile Parle, lost Rs 4.35 lakh to online phishing three weeks ago. But, she is still running from pillar to post to get a complaint registered.
When Sadhana Puri (name changed) received an online friend request from a London-based medical director of Shell company in June, she did not doubt his intention.
“The man, who identified himself as Maxwell Lenard, had a very impressive profile. He started chatting with me on social networking site and phone messenger app. One day, he told me that he was sending me a gift. Initially, I refused but after an emotional request, I agreed to accept it,” Puri said.
In July, she received calls from people claiming to be customs clearing agent, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Delhi’s IGI Airport officials informing her that an overseas parcel had come in her name. “I was told that the customs had scanned the parcel and found $15,000 cash, diamond and gold jewellery, a laptop, iPhone and other items. I was asked to pay airport charges, currency conversion charges and was also threatened that I would be booked in a case of money laundering if I did not pay for the parcel,” Puri said.
She deposited Rs4.35 lakh in installments in different bank accounts for the ‘clearances’. When she contacted the RBI in Delhi, she was told that they don’t call individuals for any parcel.
Realising that she had been cheated, Puri shot an email to joint commissioner of police (crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni requesting a probe into the matter. “After being directed to the BKC cyber police station by the joint CP’s office, the officers instead of lodging a FIR tried convincing me that my matter was not related to cybercrime,” Puri said.
She told the officers that she had managed to keep the accused engaged so that the police could trace them. “The officers did not take my complaint seriously. They referred me to DN Nagar police station to lodge a cheating case. Officers at the police station didn’t get time to meet me and no FIR has been lodged,” she said.
“The police are harassing me. I have lost my money but I am worried that by the time the police initiate action, the criminals would have cheated many other people,” she said.
The new police commissioner Ahmad Javed, while listing his priorities after taking charge, said that there would be an improvement in service delivery to the common people.
Kulkarni said: “I will check and take necessary corrective action.”