Assuring costly gifts, FB ‘friend’ robs woman of Rs 19L

Promising expensive gifts, FB ‘friend’ swindles Bengaluru woman of Rs 19 lakh

When she did not receive any gifts, Kavya tried calling Kenny and the woman. But found their phones switched off and realised she had been conned.

Befriending a stranger on Facebook proved costly for a woman, who lost Rs 19 lakh in the hope of getting expensive gifts in Pound Sterling and gold jewellery.

In her police complaint, Kavya (name changed), a resident of Maruthi Sevanagar, said she received a friend request on Facebook from a stranger called Kenny in December 2019, which she accepted.

Kenny soon started chatting with her, introducing himself as a reputed doctor in the United Kingdom. Kavya shared her personal information and the two became close. The stranger impressed her so much that she even shared her mobile number with him.

Kenny told her that he wanted to send her gifts from the UK and sent pictures of the gifts over WhatsApp to win her trust. He also said he was visiting India in a few days and wanted to hand over the gifts personally. In her eagerness to receive the expensive gifts, Kavya believed him blindly.

On December 16, Kavya received a call from Kenny, saying officials at the Delhi airport have seized his gifts, including Rs 45 lakh worth UK Pounds. Kenny asked her to send Rs 2.8 lakh to a bank account to get the gifts released. He said he was going back since there were some issues with the officials and promised to send her more gifts through courier in a few days.

While Kavya and Kenny remained in touch via WhatsApp and Facebook, she received a call from an unknown number on January 7.

The woman on the phone identified herself as a customs official and said she had a courier of 30,000 UK Pounds, for which she asked for Rs 8.8 lakh as customs charges. Kavya checked with Kenny for confirmation, who asked her to pay the money so that the gifts could be sent to her.

Just when Kavya transferred the money requested of her, the woman once again called asking for a further Rs 4.87 lakh. In total, she ended up transferring Rs 19.13 lakh.

When she did not receive any gifts, Kavya tried calling Kenny and the woman. But found their phones switched off and realised she had been conned.

An investigating officer from the Banaswadi police station said such types of online frauds are becoming more common in the city. He said women in particular make friends with strangers on social media and lose money, adding: "It’s very difficult to solve these cases."

Kavya has refused to comment on the incident.