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In bid to raise Instagram followers, Mumbai schoolgirl loses ₹55k to cyberfraud

Mumbai A 16-year-old SSC student from Goregaon East was duped by a cyber fraud, who lured her by promising to increase her followers on Instagram and other social media accounts by 50,000. The teenager, who stays with her parents, was then prompted to make eight transactions from her father’s account and transfer a total of 55,000 to the fraudster.

According to the Vanrai police, the girl, who has a social media account on her father’s mobile phone, was watching reels on Instagram when she received a follow request from a girl with Instagram handle Sonali Singh. The teen accepted and began chatting with Singh.

Police officers said the girl was then asked whether she wanted to increase her followers on her social media accounts by 50,000. “When the girl agreed, Singh told her that it would cost her 6,000,” said a police officer. The girl had only 600, which she transferred by Google Pay from her father’s account after Singh sent her a QR code. Singh then told the teen that 600 will only get her 10,000 followers.

Also read: Bank VP loses 3.99 lakh to WhatsApp impersonator

On Monday, when the girl realised that her followers had not increased, she asked Singh to pay back her money. “Singh told her that she was unable to send the amount as there was some problem in her account,” said the officer. Singh then told the girl to transfer the entire amount in her father’s account, which she would reverse along with the 600, added the officer.

The officer said that the girl, a student of a Goregaon-based school, sent all the amount in her father’s account — 55,128 — to Singh’s UPI id through eight transactions, assuming that she would get the entire amount back. On Tuesday, when the girl’s father checked his phone, he found that his account had 0 balance. On confronting his daughter, she told him about the money transfers.

“The girl’s father, who is a businessman, approached the police and registered a case against the unidentified fraud. We have registered a case of cheating and impersonation under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and of the Information Technology Act and are trying to trace the UPI ID, where the girl transferred the money,” said the police officer.

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