A 26-year-old man, who works in a pharmaceutical company in Borivali (west), was allegedly duped out of Rs 3 lakh by a gang of three cyber-fraudsters, including a woman, who convinced him that his documents were misappropriated by a criminal committing crimes and he had to file a case for which he would have to pay money. To gain his trust, one of the fraudsters allegedly wore a police uniform and posed as an officer from the Delhi criminal branch during a WhatsApp video call.
A first information report (FIR) was registered on the matter by the Borivali police on 13 April. The man told police that on April 7 he received a phone call from a woman named Swati Patil who said she was calling from a Delhi. Passport office. “She told me she was checking my details and asked me to pull out my Aadhaar card. She read my name, date of birth and Aadhaar card number correctly. Then she read a passport number but I told her I didn’t have a passport,” the complainant said.
According to the FIR, the woman told the complainant that he had traveled to Thailand on March 30 and had done illegal work and that the passport office had received a complaint from the immigration department. “I told him that I didn’t have a passport. How am I going to go abroad? I have never been to any state other than Maharashtra and Gujarat. She then told me that I was innocent and that someone misused my documents to fabricate a new passport,” the man said in his complaint.
The woman told him he should write a letter and post it to the Delhi Criminal Branch, according to the FIR. Then another man came on the line, picked up and introduced himself as Sunil Kumar Naik from the Delhi Criminal Branch and asked how he could help, the complainant said.
“I told what Patil told me and Naik also said that I was innocent. Naik then made a Whatsapp video call. I took the call and saw that he was wearing a uniform He said there is a warrant for my arrest. He sent me an internet link and asked me to check what case is registered against me by entering my Aadhaar number. I clicked on the link and entered my number and a page opened saying there was a warrant out for my arrest for money laundering, drug trafficking and human trafficking,” the man told the police.
In the warrant, it was written that he should be arrested immediately and that his property and that of his family should be seized, he being the man of the police. “I told them that I was innocent after which he asked me to speak to his elder Ashutosh Patel. Patel said that a wanted criminal by the name of Ranjan Kumar had falsified my false documents. He said that I I will have to file an FIR for which money will be needed. They asked me to deposit Rs 3 lakh in a bank account and added that the money will be refunded within 49 hours,” he said.
After paying the money, a clearance certificate was sent to him on WhatsApp. The man waited 48 hours but was not reimbursed. He tried to call the numbers but no one picked up. He realized he had been tricked and went to the police.