Hyderabad: The increased dependence on online methods to search for and fix marriage alliances is landing many from the city in trouble, with cyber crooks now focusing on matrimonial websites too.
The last few months, ever since life was pushed into more of a cyber realm by the Covid-19 pandemic, has seen a rise in the number of matrimonial frauds. The cases of two women from the city, one of them a doctor, being cheated after they tried to proceed with ‘suitable matches’ found on prominent matrimonial sites, in the last week of June were the latest.
The modus operandi in both cases was the same, with the crooks posing as prospective grooms from different countries including Netherlands, and after initial introductions on the site, slowly taking the connection to WhatsApp chats, and in both cases, the ‘groom’ sent the would-be bride a gift. The victim would get a call from the Customs wing in an airport in India, alerting them about the gift and that they would have to pay a sum to get it released. While one victim lost Rs 55,000, the doctor lost Rs 90,000.
In another case in May, a woman and her son were arrested for cheating two NRIs of Rs 65,000 and Rs 1 crore each. The woman, aged 44, with the help of her son, had created a false, much younger woman’s profile on a matrimonial site and lured the victims through online friendship into paying her money under different pretexts before the ‘alliance’ was fixed.
In March, a woman doctor was swindled of Rs 12.45 lakh in a similar matrimonial fraud. With these kinds of frauds on the rise, the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (www.cybercrime.gov.in) of the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an advisory on matrimonial frauds.
The MHA advisory asks those looking for a life partner online to go for verified matrimonial websites. “Before registering on a matrimonial website, check the authenticity and reviews of the website. If possible, try to talk to people who might have found their life partners through online matrimonial platforms. The site must be a secure website,” it says.
The other tips in the advisory include creating a new e-mail ID for matrimonial websites; doing a background check of the prospective match by contacting workplace, family, friends, relatives, neighbours or associates; keeping your family informed of the information shared, if any, with the prospective match found on matrimonial websites and so on.
Tie the knot, but safely, is the moral of the lesson.
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