We often hear how many people are using Facebook to make professional contacts, grow businesses or take small businesses to places. This is not an over hyped information. A section of Facebook users are using Facebook not only to grow their small and Medium businesses, they are also finding useful professional contacts to do business the better way. But, as much as Facebook is a place to find growth and prosperity; it’s also a place of deception and fraud.
A woman from Dehradun learned this after losing Rs 1.3 crore or 130 Lakh to a couple of Facebook friends.
According to Times of India article,
A woman from Dehradun, was lured into parting with Rs 1.30 crore by a “friend” she made on Facebook after being assured a sum of $1.5 million (about Rs 9 crore) to open an old age home in Dehradun. But before that the woman was asked to “clear a tax” to get the amount. Falling into the trap, she deposited Rs 1.30 crore in various bank accounts only to realize soon after that she had been fooled. According to the complaint, the woman came into contact with one Richard Anderson through Facebook in November last year. The two later exchanged phone numbers and started telephonic interactions. “In the telephonic conversations, Anderson told the Woman that he wanted to help people of India and came up with several proposals to that end and also sought suggestions from her. Following that, the man assured her that he would provide Rs 9 crore for the old age home. A few days later, the woman received a call in which the caller claimed he was from the foreign exchange branch of Reserve Bank of India. He told her, she could claim the amount by paying the tax due on it. The woman deposited the money in various branches and later received calls from two persons who called themselves William George and Kevin Brown, asking her for more money. In total, she deposited Rs 1.30 crore in 25 accounts.
The Dehradun Police has registered a case under section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the IPC against Anderson, George, Brown and one more person. Police believes that most of these accounts are from South India, that is, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Using Facebook for Duping or Defrauding People
Just like the real World, most of the Facebook or telephone scams or frauds benefit from one of the biggest human weaknesses — the greed. The fraudsters on Facebook throw in baits in different forms. Some lure unsuspecting victims by promising giving many fold returns, others lure them by helping them grow their businesses or make their businesses international. What the bait is, depends on the profile of the victim.
The Dehradun Police’s initial investigation that fraudsters belong to South India, seems well placed, as many names in South India resemble that of Westerners. That’s it’s hard to distinguish between the place of residence of the person. For instance what will you assume of you hear the caste Gomes or Almeida . This is not too much logic, as during my initial years of Tech blogging, when anyone from Bangalore contacted me for some updates, I couldn’t ascertain where the person is from. That’s inside or outside India.
Although, it’s not difficult to create a Facebook account with a fake name, but since Facebook or telephone scams involving money conclude with the transfer of money to certain accounts, hence it’s uncertain that the Facebook friends involved in defrauding are not real persons. What they try to benefit from is the geographical separation and lack of face to face interaction. They also benefit from lack of tangible proof.
It’s not that people don’t make useful contact on Facebook. They do. But before involving any money in this Friendship, there must be a real face to face interaction. Think logic, if crores are involved, a person can even come from USA.