The Special Task Force in Uttar Pradesh, India has arrested a Nigerian who allegedly tricked a 64-year-old retired aeronautical engineer out of Rs 9 lakh (N131m) by impersonating a German on social media.
The accused identified as Jérôme Balla alias Sunday Dumka, 34, was arrested in Delhi on Thursday September 15, 2022.
The police recovered six cell phones, three SIM cards, a Nigerian voter ID card, a Mastercard and a photocopy of a passport in his possession.
STF said the accused is the gang member involved in the online fraud, specifically tricking older men into a friendship posing as women.
The accused posed as a woman on his social media profile and took the money from the victim, a resident of Alambagh, Lucknow, in the name of sending her birthday presents. The man filed a complaint with the cyberpolice.
ASP, STF, Vishal Vikram Singh, said the suspect created a fake profile identifying him as Analisa Thompson from Berlin and befriended the victim via Facebook.
Last year, the suspect sent a message that “she” wanted to send a present for her birthday and asked the victim to send her address.
“A few days later, I received a call from a man regarding a package and I was asked to deposit Rs 20,000 as income tax. I made the payment. A few days later, I received another call, this time from a woman, and was asked to deposit Rs 52,000 as fee/tax for the gift which was 60,000 in UK currency.As the money was huge, I didn’t I had no doubts and I also deposited this amount,” he said.
Later, he was told to deposit Rs 3.98 lakh as the final sum which was assessed as a fee to get the gift and the foreign money.
“While I was eagerly awaiting the gift, another person sent me a letter asking me to deposit Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 8.28 lakh,” he said.
He said they took money in the name of RBI charges/fees. He said these emails made him cautious and he went to the RBI to inquire about the same and was told he had been cheated.
ASP Singh said the arrested man was named in several cyber fraud cases in Lucknow.
During his interrogation, the defendant revealed that he visited India in 2017. He then married an Indian woman in 2018 and has since lived in Delhi.
The police added that the accused had created several pieces of identification on various social media platforms and used to post photos of strangers in order to entrap the victims.
The accused befriended the victims by posing as a man or woman from America, Germany or elsewhere.
He even talked to them on the phone using voice changing software. Along with the promise to marry the victims, the accused undertook to send them lavish gifts.
Later, he would call them as a customs officer and pressure the victims to pay “customs duty” on the items received.
According to the police, the accused also tricked people by threatening to entrap them in a money laundering scheme and asking them to send money to various bank accounts.