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Online ‘friend’ cheats woman of Rs7.5 lakh on pretext of marriage

Man told victim he had been detained by customs at Delhi airport and needed the money for his release.

delhi Updated: Jan 13, 2018 09:40 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,Fraud,Delhi Airport
The man reportedly told the woman he had been detained by customs as he was carrying expensive gifts for her along with large sums of cash(File Photo)

When they met on a matrimonial website, he introduced himself as the CEO of a Europe-based pharmaceutical company. They were in touch through Facebook for months. One day, he told the woman that he was coming to India to marry her. On the day he was supposed to arrive, he told the woman that he had been detained by customs at Delhi airport and he needed Rs7.5 lakh for his release. Once she transferred the money to his account, she never heard from him again.

An incident of fraud has been uncovered at the Delhi airport where a conman used the excuse of being detained by customs officials as a chance to extract money from an unsuspecting victim.

The man reportedly told the woman he had been detained by customs as he was carrying expensive gifts for her along with large sums of cash. He asked her to deposit Rs7.5 lakh into his account so customs would release him and he could meet her. The woman, a resident of Hyderabad, deposited the money but didn’t hear from the man after that.

She finally contacted customs, who told her that they had never detained any person that fit her description.

“She came all the way from Hyderabad to receive the man. But then she got this call. The woman deposited the money in three instalments. We got to know about the incident when she approached us describing the case. We realised someone is using customs name to cheat people,” said a Delhi-based customs official, requesting anonymity.

The woman then went to Hyderabad and after landing there, she approached customs officials again.

“She said that someone from customs called her again saying the passenger was carrying forex worth Rs2 crore and has to pay duty on the amount. We checked our records, but no person with the name of details given by the woman had been detained. We told her to file a police complaint,” a customs officer at Hyderabad airport said.

Customs officials said the man had been in touch with the woman for over six months. They used to chat regularly and he had told her that they would be getting married. Officials did not rule out the possibility of the man having duped several others.

“We cannot do much unless we are approached by the victim, although similar complaints have been received in the past as well. Before depositing the money into others’ bank account in such cases, people should check with customs first,” the customs officer said.

Customs said that the woman was not interested in filing a police complaint.

However, airports across the country have been alerted to look for such cases and inform passengers if they get such calls for help.

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 09:40 IST