A 32-year-old Indian Navy personnel was cheated of Rs 7.5 lakh by a woman he had befriended on Facebook. According to the police complaint lodged by Ashwanikumar Trivedi, a seaman with the Navy, the woman claimed that the authorities had stopped her at the Delhi airport as she was carrying a demand draft of £10 lakh (about Rs 9 crore).
Trivedi had befriended the woman, who gave her name as Sofiya Paolinho, on Facebook messenger and given her his phone number. “We had a common friend, so I thought the profile was genuine. So I accepted the request and gave her my number,” Trivedi told the police.
The woman claimed she was from Bristol and that after her parents died in an accident, she looks after their business. “She said she would be coming to India on July 10 and required my guidance to invest here,” he told the police.
According to the police, on July 10, Trivedi got a call from a woman who identified herself as an immigration officer at Delhi airport. She told him that his friend had been caught with a DD of £10 lakh and that he needs to pay Rs 65,000 to get clearances from the airport authorities. Over that, Trivedi was asked to pay another Rs 6.85 lakh.
“The fraudsters told Trivedi that the woman was asked to pay up for anti-terrorism certificate and GST tax, and allowed to go thereafter,” a police officer said.
Trivedi not only borrowed from his friends, but also took a personal loan of Rs 2 lakh to pay the fraudsters, the police said. He also paid for her stay and food. The woman then sought his bank account details and email id, saying that she would credit Rs 9 crore in his account. For this, Trivedi was asked to pay another Rs 8 lakh. Suspecting that he had been cheated, Trivedi then approached the police.