The Delhi Police on Tuesday arrested four Nigerian men for allegedly posing as merchant navy officials operating in South African seas on matrimonial websites in a bid to dupe women. The cybercrime unit of the police made the arrests from Greater Noida.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the accused made at least a dozen accounts on websites, claiming they were attacked by Somali pirates and needed help. This, police said, helped the group garner sympathy and convince women into sending them money.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Crime) Anyesh Roy told The Indian Express that the accused were identified as brothers Raymond (28) and Melody (21), and their accomplices Kareem Ridwan (27) and Osas Clifford (28).
“Raymond and Melody were initially involved in the garment export business, which could not take off due to a financial crunch. They had studied computers, and started cheating people over the internet. The group was arrested from Greater Noida,” Roy said.
Police said the accused studied profiles of people on Facebook and collected their photos in order to come up with colourful back stories. They operated mainly on matrimonial websites, but also allegedly duped people under the pretext of providing loans.
Reportedly, the accused made multiple such accounts, including some, meant to cater to specific castes and concocted stories of bravery in South African seas and spoke about how they were attacked by pirates.
The case came to light after a Pune-based woman approached police claiming she was duped of Rs 24,000 by the accused, posing as a Merchant Navy officer under the account name Tiwari Pandit.
As per police, the woman alleged that the accused, on the pretext of meeting her, told her he would send his bags first through the customs department. Later, she allegedly got a call from another woman posing as a customs official, demanding money. Later, when the man demanded more money, the woman approached the cops.
A case has been registered against the accused under IPC sections 419, 420, sections 66 C and 66 D of the IT Act, and section 14 of the Foreigners Act, said police.