Lured by iPhone and jewellery, 60-year-old woman cheated of Rs 4 crore by ‘Facebook friend’

The woman's 'Facebook friend' posed as someone in a prominent position by pretending to have assistants and accounts managers.

A 60-year-old woman working at a very senior position in a private firm in the city was cheated of Rs 4 crore by online fraudsters on the pretext of receiving an iPhone, jewellery and foreign currency. An FIR in this case was registered at the Cyber Crime Police Station of Pune City Police recently, police said. An officer from Pune police said this is probably one of the highest sums of money that an individual has lost in a gift fraud case being probed in the country.

According to police, the woman received a friend request on Facebook in April last year from a person claiming to be in Britain. Over the following months, the complainant and the online fraudster exchanged phone numbers and connected with each other on WhatsApp, police said.
Some time around the complainant’s birthday, the complainant was told that she had been sent an iPhone as a gift, police said. A large sum of money was taken from the complainant on the pretext of customs clearance for the gift at Delhi Airport, police said.

Later, the complainant was asked to give more money in order to receive jewelry and foreign currency sent to her, police said. In as many as 207 transactions from two bank accounts, the complainant ended up transferring Rs 3,98,75,500 to online fraudsters for a plethora of pretexts given by the fraudsters to acquire her money, police said. The first transaction was made in September while the last one was made in the first week of this month, police said.

The woman’s ‘Facebook friend’ posed as someone in a prominent position by pretending to have assistants and accounts managers.

Inspector Ankush Chintaman of the Cyber Crime Police Station said, “We have launched a probe into the social media accounts, phone numbers and bank accounts used by the online fraudsters.”

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