"I got scared and agreed to pay just to get out of this issue."
A woman from Mumbai got blackmailed into handing over Rs. 3.7 Lakh (£4,000) after befriending someone on LinkedIn, the business and network-orientated website.
The IT professional, who works for a private firm, came into contact with a foreign national in February 2019.
The accused, who claimed to be a British pilot, showed a fondness towards the victim despite only speaking to her for a week. He said that he was sending her lavish gifts.
However, when the woman refused to accept them, she was threatened of being implicated in a smuggling and money laundering case. She was forced to pay Rs. 3.7 Lakh (£4,000).
The woman filed a police complaint and officers have registered an FIR.
According to the complaint, the victim came into contact with the man on LinkedIn. He introduced himself as Maurison Franklin, a British national working as a pilot.
After they got connected, the woman did not suspect anything wrong and began chatting with Franklin. They also exchanged phone numbers.
After a few days, Franklin told the woman that he was couriering expensive gifts for her.
Though the victim refused to accept it, Franklin insisted and sent her an image of the courier receipt stating that the parcel has been dispatched to her address.
He told the woman that the parcel contains a designer brand purse, a gold Rolex watch and £50,000 (Rs. 46 Lakh). Franklin added that the parcel would be arriving via a UK-based courier company.
The following day, the victim received a phone call from a woman who claimed to work for the courier company. She asked the woman to pay the processing fee.
When the woman refused to pay the fee, she was allegedly threatened.
The victim said: “The woman threatened to implicate me in drug smuggling and money laundering cases and defame me on social media as I am the beneficiary of that parcel.
“I got scared and agreed to pay just to get out of this issue.”
The woman did not realise she had been conned until after she checked with the head office of the courier company.
“The courier woman asked me to transfer the amount in four different transactions. When all the money from my bank account got over, I couldn’t pay further.
“Later, I checked with the courier company’s head office and realised I had been duped.”
The victim told her husband about the ordeal and later made a police complaint.
She added: “I never thought that the profile of the person I had made contact with was fake. He looked genuine.
“Even after taking so much money, he was calling me from different numbers and asking to pay up.”
A senior police officer from Vile Parle station in Mumbai said: “We have registered an FIR and our probe is on.”