A 43-year-old woman professor at a city college has become the latest victim of the ‘Nigerian fraud’, losing around Rs 11.50 lakh to cheats who sent her an email stating she had won $8,50,000 under an “ICC World Cup Mobile Lucky Draw”.
The city cyber cell said that they had been sensitising people about the email trick popularly called Nigerian fraud, but the greed was making people fall prey to it even now.
The complaint in the case was registered by Madhavi Charudatta Bangal, a resident of Warje-Malwadi. The police registered an offence against two people identified as Sonia Sharma and Philip Omogo.
The police said these two people were in contact with the complainant through email and instructing her what to do to get her “prize money”.
Officials of the Warje-Malwadi police station said the fraud took place between July 22 and August 26. “Bangal, who has been working with a city-based college as a professor, had received an email on July 22 this year from Omogo and the email stated that her mobile number had been selected under the ICC World Cup Online Lottery and she had won USD 2,50,000,” Police Inspector (Crime) P N Solankar said.
“The mail instructed her to reply to the mail to claim the amount.” Bangal replied to the mail and sought information on how to claim the money, after which she got another mail that had instructed her to deposit Rs 6,000 into a specified bank account.
“The mail asked her to deposit the money in an ICICI account and stated the Rs 6,000 was a service charge,” Solankar said. “Acting on the instructions, she deposited the amount in the account and waited for a reply.”
Solankar said that after some days, Sonia Sharma sent a mail to the complainant posing as an official of the foreign exchange department of the Reserve Bank and instructed her to deposit Rs 57,000 as some foreign exchange charges. “Here also Bangal acted on the instructions and deposited the amount in one Amit Kumar’s ICICI account,” he said.
The official said that after the fraudsters realised that the victim had completely fallen into their trap, they instructed her to deposit Rs 98,000, Rs 7.20 lakh and Rs 2.67 lakh into three different ICICI accounts and assured her that her prize money would soon be credited to her account.
The police said the complainant went on to borrow money from her relatives to make the deposits and did not tell even her husband about these transactions.
“When she finally realised that she had been duped, she narrated the incident to her husband and approached the police station to lodge the complaint,” Solankar said. “We have booked two people under Sections 420 (cheating) and 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonating) of the IPC and the relevant sections of the Information Act (2008).”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber) Dr Sanjay Shinde said the cell had been making people aware about such mails or messages by conducting various workshops. “It is the greed factor which makes people fall prey to such fraudulent mails and messages,” Shinde said.