Facebook 'friend' promises man a 'parcel', dupes him of Rs 2.25 lakh

The accused and his accomplices forged ministry documents and bank emails to dupe the complainant

A casual chat over Facebook with a resident of UK led to a hellish experience for 30-year-old John Muivah, a resident of Camp.

30-year-old John Muivah resides in a society in the Camp area; he met the accused Steve Martin when he had gone to Mumbai for a training course in February. Pic/Mohan Patil

On the pretext of having sent a parcel from the UK, the accused, identified as Steve Martin, lured John into parting with Rs 2.25 lakh in the name of excise duty and bank charges.

Police Inspector (Crime) Nitin Jadhav from Cantonment police station said, “The complainant had gone to Mumbai for a training course in February, when he got acquainted with the primary accused.

The suspects used a forged letter pad of the Indian government’s Finance Ministry, and also sent fraudulent bank emails.”

John said, “I don’t remember when Steve Martin added me to his friends list on Facebook. We started a casual conversation over Facebook, in course of which I shared my contact number and address details with him. Martin told me that he had sent a courier for me from UK, via Delhi airport.

A few days later, I received a call from a woman who identified herself as Neeta and said she was an excise official who knew my personal details. She asked for my ID proof and also sent me a scanned copy of the Finance Ministry’s letter, after which she asked to deposit money into some account. Several persons called me up a number of times, and asked me to deposit money for some reason or the other.

When I told them that I would come to Delhi to receive the parcel, they flatly refused. Recently, they asked me to deposit Rs 1 lakh more for some IMF code. That is when I realised that I had been a victim of a fraud.”

A complaint has been lodged at Cantonment police station against Steve Martin and four other persons who are yet to be identified. They have been booked under sections 467, 468 (forgery), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record), 34 (common intention) and section 66c (identity theft) and 66d (cheating by personation by using computer resource) of the Information Technology Act.

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