A 30-year-old south Mumbai resident has become the latest victim of a matrimonial fraud after she was duped by a ‘US based doctor’ posted in London. Under various pretexts, the accused who identified himself as Shabez Khan, duped the woman of Rs 1.25 lakh over the past year. After the woman realised that she had been duped, she approached police and filed an FIR on charges of cheating and sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000 against unidentified persons.
Until March this year, the number of cyber offences which include matrimonial frauds, have gone up by over 30 per cent. While in the current year, 407 FIRs were registered, 291 cyber crime offences were registered in the corresponding period last year.
In her police complaint, the woman said that she had created a profile on Jeevansathi.com, to look for a spouse. Nearly a year back, she got in touch with Shabez Khan through the website. Khan told her that he was a doctor based in the United States.
They then exchanged numbers and through a mobile messenger started communicating regularly, an officer said.Over a period of the time, the duo decided to get married after Khan told her that he would come to India after finishing a project in London.
A few months back, Khan told her that he had moved to London and had begun work on the project. “One day, he told her that he had been robbed there and was short on cash. He told her he was in urgent need of money which he would duly return after meeting her,” said an officer from Dongri police station.
The complainant transferred Rs 60,000 to the account number given by the accused. Three months back he told her that he was coming to India and would meet her. On the day he was to come to India, the woman received a call from ‘a woman from Delhi airport staff’ who told her that Khan had been detained as he was carrying more foreign currency than permissible.
“The woman then told the 30-year-old that she would have to pay Rs 65,000 before they can release him. Scared that Khan would be arrested, the victim made the payment following which she was told that Khan was allowed to proceed to Mumbai from Delhi,” an officer added. However, after that when the complainant tried to contact Khan on the messenger she could not get through.
After a few days, she also tried the number from which she received the call from ‘Delhi airport’ to find that it was not the number for Delhi airport. Realising she had been duped, the woman last week approached the Dongri police.
“We registered an FIR under sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating) and sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000 this week. This is a common modus operandi used by fraudsters. We have made several attempts to raise awareness about this fraud, however people still fall prey to this,” an officer from Dongri police added. Last month, a Bhandup-based school teacher had been duped of Rs 11.5 lakh by a fraudster using a similar modus operandi.