Scammers break hearts & bank accounts of men
Pune: Online scammers from Bengal are literally breaking the internet, the hearts and the bank accounts of Pune men, both young and old via various dating websites.
Posing as women, they have defrauded several men of lakhs of rupees. So far, no woman from the city has fallen victim to the dating app fraud.
While inquiring into such cases, the cybercrime cell of the Pune police found that most scammers were from West Bengal. “We found that in most cases, money was transferred to banks in West Bengal,” Manisha Zende, inspector, cybercrime cell, told TOI.
Though few have come forward to lodge complaints, police estimate the number could be quite sizable. Last year, the cell had received 60 applications from people duped on dating websites and apps. “Most often, the victims do not approach police because they are too embarrassed to lodge a complaint,” Zende said.
A cybercrime cell officer cited the example of an IT professional who lost Rs 4.5 lakh on a dating app. He stays alone in the city and is active on various dating websites and applications. He matched with one ‘woman’ on one of the dating apps and started chatting with ‘her’. After befriending her, when the professional wished to meet her, the woman started demanding money from him under various pretexts.
The IT professional realised that he had been duped only after he had coughed up Rs 4.5 lakh online. “After he filed a complaint, we traced the bank accounts, where the money was transferred, to other states,” the officer said.
Zende said the cell has also received an application from a 70-year-old man, who lost money on a dating website. “In Pune, all the victims, active on various dating website and apps, are men,” Zende said.
She said the men had uploaded their profiles on these sites just to have fun with women. In most cases, the victims had gone out of their way to fulfil the demands of their online friend only to be duped. “We have found that most of the fraudsters are men who have enrolled as women on the dating websites,” Zende said.
She said it was likely that there were several such victims in Pune but due to embarrassment they had not approached police. “All those who have lodged complaints have requested us not to make their names public as their family members were not aware of the cheating cases,” she said.
Zende said the cybercrime cell initially conducts an investigation following which a complaint is filed under section 420 of IPC and provisions of Information Technology Act. She said that the police were yet to arrest anybody in dating site fraud cases.
She said the cell receives many matrimonial fraud cases. “We recently arrested a conman from Delhi who had duped many women by uploading fake profiles on matrimonial websites,” Zende said.