Bengaluru woman cheated of Rs 95K by NRI Facebook friend

Posing as rich non-resident Indians (NRIs), members of an online gang are befriending gullible people on Facebook and cheating them of their money through rather ingenious ways.

A 37-year-old woman from Bengaluru had to take a loan of Rs 1 lakh to help a female friend pay "stamping and registration charges" at the Delhi airport for carrying Rs 4.5 crore in British currency. The woman sensed she was being taken for a ride when she was asked to pay another Rs 2.8 lakh as bribe.

It all started when Renuka N, a lab technician from Hunasemaranahalli, received a friend request from one Susane Jones, who claimed to be an Indian working in a British government department. She accepted the request and started chatting with her. They even shared family photographs and WhatsApp numbers.

In the last week of November, Jones told Renuka she was flying to Bengaluru to invest her life savings in real estate. She also sought her help. Renuka readily agreed. Jones said she would arrive in Bengaluru on November 28 and kept texting Renuka about her every activity.

That day, though Jones didn't arrive, Renuka got a phone call from a woman claiming to be a staffer at the Delhi airport. The caller said a woman named Susan Jones had arrived from England but was detained by the airport authorities as she was carrying Rs 4.5 crore in British currency.

She further said that Jones carried just Rs 1 lakh in Indian currency, which was not enough to pay Rs 1.95 lakh towards "stamping and registration charges" for Rs 4.5 crore. The caller added that since Renuka was Jones's local point of contact, she was informed so that she could help.

Renuka checked the caller's number on Truecaller, and the result stated 'Delhi Airport'. She was convinced the caller was genuine. She then spoke to her husband and took a loan of Rs 1 lakh. She wired Rs 95,000 to the bank account number Jones had texted her.

A short while later, the woman called up Renuka again and demanded Rs 2.8 lakh as bribe. Renuka got suspicious and opened up to her husband. The couple rushed to the cybercrime police station and filed a complaint. Though police have registered a case, Renuka continues to get phone calls from Jones saying she is still "stuck" at the Delhi airport.

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