Ten African nationals were arrested for allegedly duping people after befriending them on online platforms, police said on Wednesday.
The accused have been identified as Philip (27), Augustime (26), Franklin (26), Simon Chukuwnemeka (28), Simon (26), Chinoo (26), Denial (28), Emmaunel (26), Fidelis and Nnekwe, they said.
The gang was found to be operating from a call centre based in the Mohan Garden area, police said, adding the accused were staying illegally in India.
According to police, they usually targeted people between the age group of 30 to 50 years through online chatting apps and befriended them by sharing fake photos of any good looking person.
The matter came to light after a sales executive of a tour and travel company alleged that he received messages from a foreign number regarding some query and the sender introduced herself as a woman named Anita Owen. She asked details to travel in India and told that she would further contact him after getting her tickets confirmed, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Dwarka, Anto Alphonse said.
On April 2, he again received a message from the same woman informing him that she has reached the Mumbai airport and would take the flight to Delhi. After an hour, he received a phone call from an Indian mobile number and the caller informed him that his guest Anita Owen has foreign currency more than the limit authorised to her, the officer said.
The caller asked him to pay some money as his guest (the woman) does not have Indian currency. The caller asked the executive to pay money to her otherwise she would not be authorized to board a flight to Delhi. He deposited Rs 45,500 in the bank account -- given to him -- and thereafter he was unable to contact the said woman as well as the caller from the airport, Alphonse said.
During investigation, the location of the accused was traced to the Mohan Garden area. The police also managed to locate the IMEI number of the mobile phone used by the accused to make calls, the DCP said.
Subsequently, raids were conducted and 10 African nationals were apprehended in connection with the incident, the officer said.
Laptops, mobile phones and SIM cards were seized from them, he added.
Interrogation revealed that after befriending the victims, they chatted with them for some time and after a certain period offered them sending some "precious gifts", police said.
The gang members then would make fake calls to the targets and demand money to be paid as customs duty at the airport. Later they would switch off their phones, police added.
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