A 46-year-old woman was cheated of Rs 5 lakhs after she was allegedly befriended online by a conman who posed as a British millionaire. The incident happened almost a month ago when the complainant, Sushma Achari, a tuition teacher based at Orlem in Malad, was befriended by the accused on Facebook.
The two got chatting on the social networking site for a few weeks since March and became friends. Ajit Surve, senior PI of Malad police said, "The man claimed that he was Conor Gypson, a 45-year-old millionaire businessman who resides in London. The woman started confiding in him and told him she dreamt of building a big house in Mumbai for which she didn't have enough money." The man allegedly gave her his word of solving her financial issues and pay her a visit in Mumbai. He also apparently promised to build a house in Mumbai worth Rs3 crores. "The man made her believe that he had enough money to build a house and that he would support her. The duo then planned to meet each other in Mumbai. He told her of his travel plans," said Surve.
Around three weeks ago, the woman allegedly received a call from the accused, who claimed that he had arrived at Delhi International airport from London and that he was supposed to catch a transit flight to Mumbai. However, he claimed that he had brought with him 3.5 lakh pounds (around Rs3.3 crore) for the woman, which got held by the customs officials at the Delhi airport. "He told her that he had to pay a huge sum to the customs and excise officials as tax and he did not have Indian currency to pay up. She was also made to talk to a woman, Shabina Mishra, who posed as a customs official," said Surve. The complainant believed this and transferred a sum of Rs85,000. Following this, she received another call stating he had to change documents for the visa and was held by the airports authority. For this, he made her talk to a woman, Anjita Sharma, who posed as an airport official. She was also asked to transfer extra money for his trip as he could not get the currency converted. In total, Rs5 lakh was transferred online by the woman, over three days.
"She transferred the amount. However, when she did not hear from him after this, she tried calling him. He stopped taking her calls and did not respond to her chat messages on Facebook. When she called up the airport and customs, she was informed that no such person had travelled and she got to know that the women she spoke to did not work there. She tried to trace him for a few weeks, after which she approached the police last week," added Surve.
The Malad police has registered a case of cheating against the three accused. "We have not been able to trace the man nor his accomplices. We have sought the help of the Cyber Crime team to trace their whereabouts. We believe this gang has been cheating a lot of people in this manner," added Surve.