Matrimonial website fraud: Mumbai schoolteacher claims Rs 11.5 lakh cheating by ‘NRI’

According to the woman’s complaint, a few weeks after she joined, she got a request from a man who claimed to be an orthopaedic surgeon based in Miami, Florida. Courtesy: The Indian Express

Matrimonial websites remain a hunting ground for cyber criminals who promise marriage to victims and then cheat them.

In the latest case, a schoolteacher was cheated by a man she met on, who claimed to be a ‘US-based NRI’. The man proposed marriage to her, took her bank account details and allegedly stole Rs 11.5 lakh. 

The woman approached the Vikhroli police station Friday and an FIR was registered against unidentified persons. An officer linked to the case said the woman, who is in her late thirties, teaches at a school in the city. She had joined the matrimonial website last September.

According to her complaint, a few weeks after she joined, she got a request from a man who identified himself as Chahit Shree. She accepted it and the same night, Shree made a WhatsApp call to her from a US number. He claimed to be an orthopaedic surgeon based in Miami, Florida, and told her that his parents hail from Ahmedabad. He claimed that he was posted as an Army surgeon with the US Army in Afghanistan.

Over time, the two started conversing regularly. Shree told the woman he would soon retire from the Army and wanted to move to Mumbai, where he planned to start a hospital. He sent her an online link, which he said was his bank account statement showing he had $774,000 (Rs 5 crore) in his account. He claimed these were his savings.

He told her that he wanted to send her a gift and requested her address. A few days later, she received a call from a woman who claimed to work for a courier service called ‘Elite courier company’. The caller told her that Shree had sent a gift parcel and some foreign currency for her, and asked her to pay Rs 63,000 as charges. The woman called Shree, who asked her to pay the money, saying he would return it to her later.

The caller then told her that the parcel contained foreign currency in a quantity “illegal” in India. The woman then said she did not want the parcel, but the caller told her the parcel would have to be sent to the government, which would question her. The caller advised her to open an account in a foreign bank where the money could be deposited easily. The woman agreed and provided details of her PAN card, Aadhaar card and bank account, to open an account in the Delhi branch of ‘Bank of Scotland’. But a few days later, she discovered that there had been withdrawals from several of her accounts totalling Rs 11.49 lakh.

When she attempted to contact Shree or the courier company, the numbers were unavailable. Realising she had been cheated, the woman approached police.