Cyber fraud: TV journalist duped by ‘foreigner’ contacted through dating app

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A journalist has alleged cyber fraud with her by a “Europe-based person” with whom she got connected through an online dating app, prompting the Noida police to launch an investigation into the case, officials said on Thursday.

The journalist (39) working with a TV news channel here claimed she lost 66,000 which she had to pay to the “customs office” in Mumbai to help the suspect whose “euro one lakh cash” got seized upon landing in India, they said.

The suspect identified himself as Manvik Bukka, a plastic surgeon who was born in Pune but is now based in the Netherlands.

“We first came in contact on January 16, 2023 on the Bumble dating app. We started chatting and he also introduced me over the phone to his mother. He left on January 31, 2023 from Amsterdam and landed in Mumbai on February 1. I got a call from someone from the customs office and she said that Manvik brought around 1 lakh euro cash in India which was seized,” the journalist stated in the FIR.

“Manvik asked me to transfer 45,000 as customs fees and 50,000 as conversion fees to transfer money into an Indian account that is his SBI account. I gave 66,000 but fell short and could not give more,” she added.

The complainant said she was later informed that the authorities had to send Manvik back to Amsterdam on February 2 and after landing he was in touch with her till February 6 but thereafter she did not get any message or call from him.

A Noida police official said the FIR has been lodged under Indian Penal Code section 420 (cheating) and under provisions of the Information Technology Act at the Sector 20 police station.

“An investigation has been launched into the case, which is now being probed by the Information Technology Cell of the Noida police,” the police official told PTI.

Meanwhile, the police urged citizens to be cautious during online fund transfers and report any cyber offense immediately at the national helpline number 1930 or at 112. Noida and Greater Noida residents can also use the local police’s dedicated helpline number 0121-4846100 to report any cyber offense.

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