Fake profiles to scam users

Cyber criminals have used fake profiles to get money from scores of people.

Last month, two Nigerian nationals were arrested by Delhi police for allegedly operating a fake profile called Ronald Howard on a leading matrimonial website and cheating a woman of her money.

Police said the Nigerians, Ozoemena Michael Izuchukwu and Ekwenze, told her in 2014 that they were sending her an engagement ring, laptop and phone. The woman received a call from a woman posing as a Customs agent demanding 42,500 rupees (S$856) in Customs duty to receive the items. She transferred the money, but got another call from the same woman asking for an additional 180,000 rupees. The police are still investigating.

In another instance, three men were arrested in May by the Gurgaon police for allegedly blackmailing a doctor by threatening to put up her pictures and contact details on a porn website, according to The Indian Express newspaper. The accused, Shaktidatta Sambhal, Saurav Prakash Nayak and Gautam Maharana, had become friends with her through a matrimonial website where they had allegedly posted a fake profile and got her to share intimate photographs. The accused allegedly got 310,000 rupees from the doctor, who went to the police after they tried to extort more money.

In some cases, men are targets. In November last year, police in Mumbai arrested three Nigerian nationals - Pascal Okwudili Chukwu, Eimma Nedum Daniel and Richard Alex Chinoso - for allegedly setting up a woman's profile seeking a bridegroom on a matrimonial site.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 15, 2016, with the headline 'Fake profiles to scam users'. Print Edition | Subscribe