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Raebareli woman duped of 32 lakh by her Instagram friend

Raebareli woman duped of 32 lakh by her Instagram friend
A woman from Raebareli Uttar Pradesh has been duped of over Rs 32 lakh by a person whom she befriended on Instagram and who identified himself as a resident of the United Kingdom.

The woman, who lives in Raebareli district of the state, alleged that she got trapped after she was informed that a "gift" and some "foreign currency" worth Rs 45 lakh have arrived in Delhi for her from the UK and she would have to pay a fee to collect them, the officials said.

Raebareli Superintendent of Police Shlok Kumar said the police have taken cognisance of the matter and the cyber cell is investigating the case.

"Efforts are on to trace the culprits and bring back the money duped online from the victim," Kumar told the media.

According to officials, the woman had come into contact with the man in September on Instagram where he identified himself as "Harry", a resident of the UK, and exchanged phone numbers, starting off regular conversations over social media.

"Recently, she got a call over Whatsapp from a woman, who informed her that a gift box and some UK currency which amounts to Rs 45 lakh have arrived for her in Delhi. In order to collect it, she would have to pay a processing fee," an official said.

"She was asked to make the payments online and in several instalments. Eventually, she ended up transferring around Rs 32 lakh after which there was no communication from the other side," the official said.

The woman then reached Delhi to inquire about the "gift" sent for her from the UK but realised she had been cheated. She returned to Raebareli and approached the district police chief.

The police, meanwhile, cautioned people against falling trap to lucrative online offers and schemes, and asked them to confirm the authenticity of the persons they are dealing with in order to stay safe from cyber criminals.

The Uttar Pradesh police, as part of national initiative, had in May this year started a dedicated helpline number 155260 where people can report online frauds and cyber crimes.

People can also call 112 immediately to report any online fraud, UP Cyber Police chief Triveni Singh had told PTI recently, adding early reporting of frauds helps the police start the process of blocking the duped money.

Till September, the UP police had brought back over Rs 2 crore that cyber criminals had conned from state residents and had got another Rs 5 crore frozen in bank accounts that were duped by thugs.