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Facebook crimes up

Shillong, Feb. 22: Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, surely did not create the trendy social networking site for people to make money by duping others. But cases of people being duped via the much-applauded site are on the rise.

Vanlalmuanpui recently lodged a complaint at Shillong Sadar police station that on February 14, one Lawrence Mark of the UK informed her employee, Rebecca Lalmunmawii, through Facebook that a parcel containing valuable items and £16,000 would be sent to her.

On the same day, she received a telephone call from one Brenda Lalmalsawmie, informing her that a parcel had been received in New Delhi and she asked her to deposit money in given account numbers to receive the parcel.

The complainant deposited Rs 1 lakh on behalf of Rebecca Lalmunmawii. However, till date she has not received any parcel.

Another case in point is of Marysha Khongsit. The woman lodged an FIR at Laban police station that her Facebook friend had sent a text message on her mobile, informing her that he had sent a parcel for her and she must deposit Rs 25,000 for clearance of the parcel.

Khongsit deposited the amount in the account given by her friend but when she was instructed repeatedly to deposit more money in various accounts, one in the name of Vitoka Kawdmi and another in the name of Onoto Zhimo, she suspected that she was being cheated.

A cautious Pearla Tatyana D. Sangma from Tura, West Garo Hills, however, was saved from being duped. She lodged a complaint at Tura women police station that one Kris Morgan had sent her a text message on Facebook that he is sending electronic gift items from the UK.

On February 11, Sangma received a call from one Sonia who claimed to be a customs officer and asked her to pay Rs 24,000 as customs clearance for the gift, to be deposited in a given SBI account. However, when Sangma refused, she was harassed and threatened over phone.

In another case, one Rutha Buansing of 101 Area, Upper Shillong, lodged a complaint at Lumdiengjri police station that on February 10, one John Moore promised to send her valuable items through a parcel.

The next day, she received an anonymous telephone call from New Delhi, saying that they had received a parcel for her and asked her to deposit money in different accounts to receive the same. The complainant deposited Rs 81,210. However, she has not received any parcel till date.

These are some of the reported cases, which the police have received in the past few months. Since last year, the police had cautioned the public to be wary of cyber criminals.

Police said the latest type of cyber crimes being reported in East Khasi Hills were through Facebook, where “criminals”, claiming to reside in a foreign land, befriend women.

“After establishing friendship, they inform the victims that they would visit India or send parcels to them. Subsequently, they inform them that they have been detained at the airport or that the parcels have been detained by customs for which they urgently need money to pay as fine,” the police said.

Citizens have been requested to be cautious against people who call up over mobile phones, claiming to be bank officials, and who ask for ATM numbers and PIN numbers to revamp the system.

After getting these numbers, the caller immediately uses them to make purchases until the balance in the account is exhausted, the police warned.