Mumbai man duped of ₹10 lakh by a social media friend
Cuffe Parade police have booked an unknown person for duping a 60-year-old man of ₹10.50 lakh.
According to police, the complainant, a Nariman Point resident, received a message on WhatsApp from an unknown international number. The person identified himself as one D Newton from Los Angeles, United States. However, the complainant responded to the messages and later the two become friends.
Newton informed the complainant that his mother resides in Pune and soon he would be coming to see her as she is hospitalised. Newton also sent photos of his air ticket to the complainant, the police said.
“On January 4, Newton sent his photo from Delhi International Airport to the complainant informing him about his arrival. However, minutes later the complainant received a call from a person identifying herself as one customs officer Mariyam Gupta. Gupta informed the complainant that Newton has been detained at the airport as he was carrying $3,65,000 (equivalent to ₹2.66 crore) and carrying a huge amount of foreign currency was illegal,” stated the complaint.
The complainant was informed by the customs officer that to get Newton released, he would have to pay some penalties to the authorities in Indian currency. The complainant agreed. Later he was made to pay different penalties, taxes, security charges, etc. totalling to ₹10.50 lakh.
“When the customs officer demanded more money in the name of some new fines, the complainant realised that something was amiss. Later Newton and the said customs officer cut off all their communications, making the complainant realise that he was cheated,” said a police officer.
The complainant approached Cuffe Parade police and lodged a complaint. “Prima facie it seems to be the handiwork of a Nigerian racket which generally cheats people using such modus -claiming that they have sent some valuables, gifts which then get caught by the customs officials at the airport and to clear the gifts, they demand money posing as custom officials under the pretext of penalties, taxes, etc.,” another officer said.