Don’t Become a Victim of Online Matrimony Frauds :-
Fraudsters seek manyfold ways to cheat and earn money online. Very popular way is searching the Matrimony to select a bride (here the bride is a target for cheating) who needs a partner for second marriage. Here the Bride can be an Indian and the fraudster can be from other countries like UK or a Nigerian claiming he has the UK citizenship.
After the women does posting an exciting online matrimony profile on any reputed matrimonial site, the fraudsters pose as prospective bridegroom, and they act befriend women. They tactically use voice-changing apps to pose as the parents and guardians of the bridegroom when talking to the women they are trying to scam. Once they gain assurance, the fraudsters ask women to transfer money into their bank accounts expressing an emergency.
In all the below cases fraudsters disappear without a trace as soon the money is transferred, and this process continues for the next victim. Most of the fraudsters who pose as Bridegrooms, are Nigerians talk with an UK number posing as Indian settled aboard few generations back.
Modus Operandi of the Fraudsters :-
- Step 1- They look out for people (Bride who have posted on matrimony portal) who are looking for a second marriage and are well off in their life having good Jobs and social status.
- Step 2 – They connect on the marriage portals establish trust and get close to the women through mails, online chats or at times by even through WhatsApp and Phone calls. Here the fraudsters, in a process of connecting with the women, they tune themselves to the habits of the women and sometimes claim that they are pious, and they are afraid for God.
- Step 3 – They claim to get married to an India Origin family who would like to continue practicing orthodox traditions. (By saying so they gain faith as they are God/tradition loving people) They also express so much fake love, i.e., They remind the victim to buy fruits and flowers for an upcoming festival. They show lot of concerns for wellbeing of the victim by reminding the victim even to carry an umbrella as there could be rain. They remind the victim to take her medicines on time.
- Step 4 – They then propose for marriage and plot a story such they are planning to send gifts and foreign currency. They often send screen shots from the eCommerce site as if they are buying and send packing videos of the proposed gifts to gain confidence and trust from the victims.
- Step 5 – They create a false story that they would like to get married and take the victim to their country as soon as possible. The way they give build up and show heaven in their communications will lure the bride who is in search of a rich and a foreign partner. Now the real drama starts from the fraudster for trapping the victim to get the targeted for money. The below steps narrate how the fraudster plans to make the women fall prey of sending money.
- Step 6 – There are Four ways how they dupe the bride.
- a) Courier Trap – The women (treated to be bride) get a call from customs courier sent by the proposed new bridegroom saying the courier was having Jewellery and cash which is in large amounts and attract money laundering case. The fraudster explains that for the reason the delivery is on the name of the victim, the victim (the bride) may be arrested, and she is also provided information with another customs insider that they charge (All Fake) Money laundering fee, Police protection fee and RBI Exemption fee to get the courier released. The victim really assumes that after clearing all the fee the courier will be released and she gets delivery of valuables. After all the payment is done, the courier does not arrive and the story ends.
- b) Airport Trap – The victim gets a call from airport saying the proposed new bridegroom who was coming to India was caught in the airport and he was having jewellers and cash which was in large amounts and attract money laundering case so that the fraudster was going to be arrested. The victim was also provided information by some another customs insider (Customs Officer) that If the victim pays the fee (All Fake) like Money laundering fee, Police protection fee and RBI Exemption fee, the fraudster (here the so-called Bridegroom) would be released. After all the payments were done the bride does arrive in the airport and the story ends..
- c) Unwell Family Member – The women fall for the bait and transfer the money to the fraudsters bank account through online as they fall for trap of fake stories cooked by fraudster saying their family members are ill and in ICU.
- d) Visa Charges – The women fall for the bait and transfers the money to the fraudsters bank account through online as they fall for trap of fake stories of Visa and Immigration Processing Charges.
How to Recognise a Online Matrimony Fraud :-
- They are unwilling to show their faces, reluctant to come on video chat as well, and only prefer to talk on WhatsApp audio calls.
- Having fewer friends on social media and they don’t have much engagement with their connected members.
- Reluctant to meet in person for a possible one-on-one interaction.
- Express “love” quickly, even before fully understanding each other.
- Sound inconsistent or confusing when we ask for his or her personal details.
- Anyone is in a mad rush for early marriage without a suitable reason.
- starts asking about your properties and income.
- Begin by sending a few gifts to gain confidence and trust.
- Come’s up with false stories to gain sympathy
- Starts requesting money under the pretext that a family member is unwell or for visa/ immigration processing fee to be paid.
How to Safeguard Yourself from Online Matrimony Frauds :-
- A Thorough Profile Check -The profile you liked on online matrimonial sites could turn out to be your better half. Hence, it is imperative that you do a thorough profile check. Try to find out where they stay, their education, family background, and their work place, and see if the story told online matches your profile check. Visit their place of work. Do a thorough personal reference check. You should also look at their social media profiles.
- Background Check – Alternatively, do a complete background check of the proposed partner before you make a decision. Background check should include, a criminal background check, financial status check (i.e.,CIBIL), a psychometric check, and so on. You may reach out to professional background checking organisations that do checks for corporate employees.
- Always look for “verified” profile matches – Many matrimonial websites have verified profiles that have been thoroughly background checked by verification experts. Ideally, you can move a conversation forward with a person who has a verified symbol. Marriage is a lifetime decision. If you feel the other person is forcing you to take things forward quickly, be firm and take a back step.
- Never give money to anyone – Do not transfer funds to a prospective bridegroom or bride under any circumstance. The moment someone asks you for money, citing some reason or another, you should become cautious, and it’s recommended that you avoid any further calls from them.
- Never reveal your account information – Keep your username and password safe. No one will ever ask you for the same. For your safety, change the password regularly. To access a matrimony website, always type in the correct URL in your browser window. Do not click on unsafe “short” links sent via SMS or WhatsApp.
- Stay safe while meeting in person – While meeting prospects, it is recommended that you meet in safe public places. Always keep your family informed of your meetings with prospects.