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Pune doctor nearly duped of Rs 2 lakh by husband's Facebook friend

The victim received a call from a person posing as a customs officer, saying that her husband’s Facebook friend from England had been detained and she needed to transfer the money to release him

A city-based doctor had a close call and was nearly duped of Rs 1.98 lakh after a person posed as a customs officer and used the name of her husband’s Facebook friend to ask her for money.

Cyber Crime
Close call: Sunita More realised she had been duped when the person asked her to transfer another Rs 5 lakh. Representation pic/Thinkstock

The incident took place in May, when Dr Sunita More, received a called from an unknown number. “More’s husband had a friend on Facebook, identified as Henry Bratner, from England. She received a call on May 15 from one Namrata Roy, who was posing as an officer from the customs department. She said Bratner was being detained in New Delhi as he was carrying Rs 5 lakh in US dollars that he had not declared. She asked the doctor to deposit Rs 1.98 lakh in a private bank to release him,” said an officer from Bibwewadi police station.

Speaking to mid-day, More said, “I spoke to Bratner, who was a Facebook friend of my husband, and he told me that he had come down to India for his daughter’s treatment. I didn’t realise then that he was in on the fraud. He said that he needed to get his daughter to a hospital immediately and did not know anyone else in India. My husband told me to transfer the money and the customs officer gave me her email ID instructing me to inform her once the transfer was complete.”

After the money was transferred and More sent the e-mail, she got a call from the same person within half an hour. “The officer then told me to deposit another R5 lakh. I sensed that something was amiss and immediately contacted officials in the police commissioner’s office. With their help, I was able to stop the transfer of Rs 1.98 lakh. The money had been debited from my account but had not been credited to the beneficiary’s account,” she said.

“While trying to stop the funds transfer, I realised that the branch code was of Naigaon in Mumbai, while I had been receiving the calls from New Delhi. Thankfully, I was saved from getting duped. People should learn from my mistake and refrain from transferring money to unknown accounts,” added More.

The case was transferred to Cyber Crime Investigation Cell, and after completing the investigation, an FIR has been registered against the poser and Bratner. The doctor’s money was returned to her.

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