Cyber Crimes

Facebook Friendship, Custom Charges, Matrimonial Frauds

This is a very common cyber fraud happening these days. In such crimes, the fraudster comes in contact with the victim through Facebook or a matrimonial platform, etc. and develops a deep friendship/relationship very quickly. Just like Sextortion frauds, in these crimes also, the fake profiles created by the criminals are designed to look extremely attractive.

After chatting for a few days, there is an exchange of numbers. The numbers used by the fraudsters are mostly VoIP numbers obtained through one of the several dozen apps/websites. The numbers show ISD Codes, thus giving the impression that the caller is based in Europe or America. The fraudster, then, claims that he/she is sending a lot of expensive gifts for the victim through courier, since he/she resides out of India. After a few days, the victim gets a call from someone who claims to be from the Indian Customs department and says that the gifts include a lot of foreign cash, jewellery, etc. and in order to claim that, the victim needs to pay Customs Charges, GST and the like.

Once the victim pays some money, they start asking for more on another pretext and in this way, they induce the victim to deposit as much money as they can, in various bank accounts. Often, this fraud goes on for weeks and even months at a stretch. During this time period, they also send the victim fake receipts of custom charges, photographs of the so-called “gifts”, etc. Once the fraud is complete, they disconnect and switch off their mobile numbers.

In a variant of this crime, sometimes the fraudster claims to be a foreigner who tells the victim that he/she will be coming to India to visit them. They also send the victim a photograph/screenshot of a fake airline ticket. After a few days, the victim gets a call from someone claiming to be from the Indian Customs Department who tells them that the person was being held by the customs until the requisite customs clearance fees is paid and then as mentioned above, they induce the victim to deposit huge sums of money in various bank accounts.

To increase the credibility of their fake documents, the fraudsters create dummy websites of courier companies, airline ticketing, etc. which, upon checking show status as per the convenience of the fraudsters.

Safety Precautions:

1. Keep your personal information on Facebook and other social media Apps, private to the maximum extent possible. Fraudsters recee through publicly available personal information to choose targets and attack strategy.

2. Never accept friend request from strangers or from people whom you don’t know in real life..

3. Don’t be tricked by ISD calling numbers. They can be easily generated through mobile App.

4. Never deposit any money on fraudster’s instructions, even if the amount is small. If deposited, they will manipulate your desire to save the deposited funds to extract more money on various pretexts.

5. Cross-check with Customs Department, Airport authorities, Foreign Embassies, etc. to verify the bogus claims of the fraudsters.

  • Advise for victims

    1. Immediately contact your Bank to stop the payment you have made

    2. Take a screenshot of the alleged fake profile wherein URL of the said profile is clearly visible.

  • How to make a complaint:

    1. Take a screenshot of the alleged fake profile wherein URL of the said profile is clearly visible.

    2. Lodge a complaint in your nearest Police Station describing complete incidence along with the above mentioned documents.

    3. Save the soft copy of all above mentioned documents in soft form and provide them to the Investigating Officer on a CD-R and also give hard copy.