News Source: The News
Facebook – the world’s largest social networking website – has revolutionised how we communicate with friends and acquaintances across the world. In Pakistan, however, it has become a fertile hunting ground for predators to search for impressionable victims, in the absence of a regulatory mechanism.
In the latest incident of fraud through social media, a young girl from Karachi was cheated by a group of fraudsters on social media who assured her that they would get her admission in a medical college.
The police have arrested two of the three gang members who looted at least Rs750,000 from the girl assuring her to get her admission at a medical college. “I got 92 per cent in the intermediate examinations,” Maria Bashir, the victim told The News. “I was seriously interested in getting admission in a medical college but unluckily, I appeared in the tests twice but could not get admission.”
While she was worried about getting admission in the medical college of her choice and looking for some kind of help, she made an acquaintance with Waqar on Facebook in December 2017 to whom she narrated her story. Taking advantage of the situation, Waqar offered her an opportunity, giving her the reference of his two friends who could help in getting admission. “I had no choice. I started trusting Waqar in our almost one-month-long friendship on Facebook,” she explained. “I agreed to his offer and met with his friends and paid them Rs300, 000 in our first meeting as a complete deal was done on Rs1 million.” Later, Maria paid them more money in three instalments.
“Everything was good until the classes at the medical college started,” she said. “I started building pressure on them for the admission or to return the money when classes started and they started using delay tactics.”
In April, she realised that they were trying to cheat her and since then they were threatening her or using delay tactics instead of returning her money. Upon which, she finally sought help from the police and registered a case against them a couple of days ago. The complaint, FIR No. 292/18, under Sections 420 and 406 of the Pakistan Penal Code has been registered against the three suspects Waqar, Mobin and Mansoor.
The police later arrested two of them – Waqar and Mobin – from Korangi Road. “We asked the girl to call them at any place to get her documents back from them,” the investigation officer of the case ASI Tariq Bhatti told The News. “And finally we arrested them when they reached Korangi Road to return her documents.” The officer said that two suspects have been arrested while the third one is already imprisoned in jail in another case of fraud on social media. “It has been confirmed that they cheated a girl but it has not been verified whether they did it for the first time or if they are professionals,” the officer said.
The suspects arrested have denied their involvement in the fraud. They said that they attempted to get her admission in the medical college but didn’t succeed. “I did not do wrong with anyone,” one of the arrested suspects, Waqar, told the police. “I just tried to help her but unluckily it could not happen.”