Shimla — In a distressing turn of events, a young woman from Shimla has fallen victim to an elaborate online scam, losing a staggering Rs. 12 lakhs after befriending a foreigner on Facebook. The victim, who works in a private job in Shimla city, was ensnared by a sophisticated fraud orchestrated by a suspected Nigerian gang.

The scam began when the girl connected with a man named Mario Sullivan on Facebook. As their online friendship deepened, they exchanged WhatsApp numbers and maintained regular communication. Sullivan claimed he was planning a trip to India and promised to bring her numerous expensive gifts.

On April 29, Sullivan informed her that he had arrived at Delhi airport but faced difficulties with money exchange. Subsequently, the girl received a call from someone posing as a customs officer, who stated that she needed to pay customs duty to release the gifts sent by Sullivan. Trusting Sullivan and eager to receive the promised presents, the girl transferred Rs. 12 lakhs to the fraudsters. Tragically, she had borrowed approximately Rs. 6 lakhs from acquaintances to make these payments.

Realizing she had been duped, the victim reported the incident to the Boileauganj police station. SP Sanjeev Gandhi confirmed that a case has been registered under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, and an investigation is underway. “We have initiated action based on the complaint and are working to trace the perpetrators,” he stated.

This incident underscores the rising trend of online scams and the importance of exercising caution in digital interactions. Police advise the public to remain vigilant and verify the authenticity of online contacts, especially when financial transactions are involved. The victim’s experience serves as a harsh reminder of the potential dangers lurking in seemingly innocuous online relationships.