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Nigerian, others arrested in India for dating app fraud

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The Indian police on Thursday stated that a Nigerian and three Indians have been arrested for allegedly cheating several Indian women on matrimonial applications.

According to the investigators, the suspects posed as doctors, engineers and information technology professionals to connect with women on several 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.

Twenty-five mobile phones, 65 ATM cards, 34 chequebooks and 12 passbooks were recovered by the cyber crime team of Gurugram police from the fraudsters.

Assistant commissioner of police (cyber) Priyanshu Diwan, said the suspects had formed a gang and were operating from Delhi in the last few months, Hindustantimes.com reported.

According to him, “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.

He said the gang members were caught after a 36-year-old woman complained on March 22 that she was duped of ₹16 lakh (about N9m).

The woman alleged that on January 26 this year, she received a friend request on Instagram 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. 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 lahks followed by ₹2.98 lahks. “It did not stop here and in total I deposited ₹16 lahks 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 addresses of the suspects, and a raid was conducted by a team led by Jasvir Singh, station house officer 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.

The gang, according to the police, had opened more than 100 bank accounts that were used by them to transfer money.

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