Indian man duped of ₹500K by fraudster posing as wife of former Afghan president

In a recent cyber scam, an Indian man was duped of more than 500,000 Indian Rupees ($6,000 USD) by an internet fraudster who pretended to be Rula Ghani, the wife of former Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

According to The Hindustan Times, the 71-year-old victim, identified as Rameshkumar Shah from Andheri, Mumbai, works as an accountant in a few companies in India.

Rameshkumar received an email from the scammer on February 18, who claimed to be interested in investing $22 million in India and offered him a commission of 25% for managing her investment affairs.

The sender of the email further told the man that he would receive a call from one Alto Belli, who is the executive manager of Permata Bank, Jakarta, Indonesia, for further assistance.

“I received a WhatsApp call with country code +62 from someone who claimed to be Rula’s representative. He told me that in order to proceed with the investment, I would have to open an account at an Indonesian bank. He asked me to send my PAN card, passport, and some details of my salary account,” the victim told the Indian Police.

To transfer the money into his account, the scammer told him that he needed to open an account in their bank and asked him to send his documents and a fee of US$360. The scammer then told the victim that in order to get the money transferred into his account, he needed to convert his overseas bank account to a local account and would also have to pay a conversion fee of Rs4.80K (US$5,800).

The victim complied and was subsequently told that he could transfer the investment amount to his Indian account, but when he tried to do so, the deal fell through.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, the scammer promised to send the money to Rameshkumar’s address. However, on April 4, a stranger visited his house and handed him a bag claiming the entire money was in it. When the victim opened it the next day, it turned out to be stacks of black paper cut into the shape of currency notes.

The Hindustan Times quoted Indian police saying that the victim lost 509,000 Indian Rupees to the frauds. The police have booked the fraudster for fraud and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act, but the case remains under investigation.