Four foreign nationals from Zambia, Uganda, Namibia and Ghana were arrested for allegedly impersonating as US Embassy officials over emails and phone calls and duping a woman of Rs 26 lakh by promising her a job in the USA. The arrests were made on November 22 from Pune and a hunt is on to nab several other foreign nationals who may have played a role.
The Mumbai cyber police found out that the accused had two lakh email ids and 1.04 lakh mobile numbers of possible targets. “The accused bought the email ids and mobile numbers from a gang of cyber criminals while the bank accounts linked with the SIM cards were bought from another similar gang. To avoid being caught, they used these numbers and bank accounts registered in names of other persons who were not even aware their personal documents were being misused,” said assistant inspector Poonam Jadhav.
“The email ids and phone numbers were targeted to send fraudulent emails and text messages of OLX fraud, lottery fraud and prize or gift fraud,” said Balsing Rajput, DCP (cyber), Mumbai police crime branch.
Thirteen mobile phones, four laptops and three routers used for the crime have been seized. “This gang is suspected to have duped one more person in Hyderabad in a similar fashion and a few others in Mumbai. Job frauds are on the rise and aspirants should never make advance payments,” added Rajput.
The 29-year-old complainant is a resident of Andheri. She is a graduate and works for a bank in Mumbai. In April this year, she received an email purportedly sent by the US embassy which promised her a job in a private company in the US.
“The complainant fell for the fraud as the fraudsters used email ids similar to the email ids used by the US embassy. They took an online interview and even made phone calls to the victim to verify and ascertain her identity. She was made to believe that they were genuine,” said inspector Suvarna Shinde.
“She was given a job letter. In some or the other pretext, between April and July, they tricked her into paying Rs 26 lakh. When they started asking for more money, she realised they were duping her,” added inspector Mahendra Jadhav.
Among the four accused are two men and two women. The men were identified as Greenwell Ndhlovu (26) from Zambia and Tosin alias Kofi Onkor Don (32) from Ghana. The two women are Dorcus Nakabuuka (22) from Uganda and Secilia Nghinasheni (27) from Namibia.
Three of them have come here on student visas and one on a medical visa, the police said. “Except for one woman, who is here on a student visa, the visas of the other accused have expired and they have been booked for visa violations too,” the police said.