The cyber crime team of Gurugram police have arrested four suspected fraudsters, including a Nigerian national for allegedly cheating several Indian women on matrimonial applications.
25 mobile phones, 65 ATM cards, 34 cheque books and 12 passbooks were recovered from their possession, police said in a statement on Thursday, April 6, 2023.
Investigators said the suspects posed as doctors, engineers and information technology (IT) professionals and got in touch with women on the matrimonial apps and took money from them on the pretext of clearing customs fees for gifts.
The suspects were identified as Chibaka alias Tall Issa of Nigeria and Delhi residents Aman Kumar (26), Rahul Singh (28), and Santosh Kumar (38), police said.
Assistant commissioner of police (cyber) Priyanshu Diwan said the suspects had formed a gang and were operating from Delhi for the last few months.
“The Nigerian was the kingpin of the gang and met the other suspects in Laxmi Nagar area of Delhi. They used to scan profiles of the victims on matrimonial sites and later befriended them on social media such as Instagram and Facebook,” he said.
ACP Diwan said they cracked down on the gang members after a 36-year-old woman complained on March 22 that she was duped of ₹16 lakh.
The victim alleged that on January 26 this year, she received a friend request from an Instagram ID in which the person introduced himself as a doctor living in the United Kingdom.
“We exchanged our numbers and started chatting on WhatsApp. The suspect said he would be sending some gold items and 20,000 UK pounds. On January 30, I received a call from a woman who introduced herself as an employee of a courier company in Mumbai and said that gold and foreign currency had arrived in my name,” said Sampa Pal, a resident of DLF Phase-4,”
The woman asked the victim to deposit ₹55,000 as tax and after receiving the money, she again asked to deposit ₹3,27,920. Again, on February 2, the suspect asked her to deposit ₹3 lakh followed by ₹2.98 lakh.
“It did not stop here and in total I deposited ₹16 lakh within a week and realised that I had been cheated as they were asking me to deposit another ₹7.26 lakh,” said Pal.
Police said after conducting an investigation, a case was registered under Section 120 B (conspiracy), 419 (impersonating) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Cyber Crime police station on February 17.
Preet Pal Sangwan, assistant commissioner of police (crime), said they traced the internet protocol (IP) addresses of the suspects, and a raid was conducted by a team led by Jasvir Singh, station house officer (SHO) of the Cyber Crime police station and the suspects were arrested from different places in Delhi on Wednesday night.
“During questioning, the suspects revealed that the Nigerian man was deported from Mumbai eight years ago, who returned to India on a Schengen visa and another passport. We are still verifying whether his passport is original or forged. He was continuously active in committing matrimonial frauds,” ACP Sangwan said.
Police said the gang had opened more than 100 bank accounts that were used by them to transfer money. One of them used to withdraw money through ATMs from different areas and many times travelled to another city to evade being identified by police, said police.
ACP Sangwan said the suspects were cheating women for months in the name of sending/receiving gifts.
“In many cases, the victims received calls from Mumbai airport officials who told them that their friend had been detained for carrying pounds/US dollars and expensive gifts. They were asked to pay money in lakhs to “register” the valuables. The victims were then asked to spend more money in the name of securing the gifts and freeing their friends,” he said.
Police said their teams immediately started analysing the chats, transactions, IP addresses and call details to trace the suspects.