Social Media Fraud
One of my relatives, let's say name Ms. Madhu, has been a facebook friend to a man named Steve Hilbert. His account states, as well as he claims to be from London, United Kingdom. Madhu and Steve have been friends for a while now, and Steve expressed to Madhu, that he wants to retire from his job as a doctor, and open a charitable hospital in India with the money he has earned, which he claims to be too much. He asked Madhu for help, as an honest person to guide him through this process and also help him travel India when he makes a visit next month. On Madhu's birthday, Steve sent a birthday present for her, although she said no to any kind of gifts, especially in cash. But still, Steve claimed that he had sent a gift package for her from London. This package, as he told, have goods like expensive handbags, iPhone 6, Apple MacBook and iPad. He sent pictures of each of these goods separately.
Now the main concern. I got to know about this at this very point. I asked for all the information about the facebook account of this person, as well requested all the pictures he sent of the gifts. Through a thorough search, I found his facebook account is completely fake. There is no such person as Steve Hilbert as a doctor in London. Secondly, his profile picture is fake. The pictures of an Australian auctioneer Will Hampson (I used google image search tools to search using an image on the internet, and I got that image on an auction site describing their agent Will Hampson).
However, since I used only google and other internet resources I'm not sure about the credibility of the results (Though the profile picture definitely is fake, and he still sent the same fake picture when Madhu tried to ask him for sending selfie's from his office just see if he sends the real pictures).
But, now that Madhu received a call from SOMEONE, who doesn't tell's her name but claims to be calling from the Delhi Airport, ask's Madhu to pay Rs. 35,000 as a Customs duty for receiving the goods (gift package) she received from London. That lady gave her bank account details for the money to be deposited into it, and gave her mobile number (which I searched on truecaller.com and it is from Delhi, but has a user name of Coca-Cola on it, I know it can't be legitimate to ascertain this number to be fake on these foundings, but it's definitely weird, suspicious). She gave a Gmail email account address for contact to "customofficenewdelhi6777@gmail. com".
I believe this is to be a fraud. I find everything to be very fake. The FB account. The person's pictures. The pictures he sent as gifts. The details provided by the lady who claims to be calling from Delhi Airport. I also believe that these people (I think it's more than one, at least one Man and one Woman), are from South India or East India, specifically Nagaland. Reasons:
1. Steve's (fake) account shows three friends to me ( I can't see all, as I'm not his friend on FB) and one of those three is my relative Madhu. Other two are from South India.
2. The lady who called was not good at speaking Hindi. No offense, but in my experience people from South India and East side of India do have difficulties with Hindi, though they speak English really well, which brings to the third point.
3. As Madhu told, the man she talks to (Steve), speaks English really well, just like an Englishman (which make all the suspicions about him being fake a little less provable). But, in from my observation and experience South people are really well at speaking English (That may be subjective though given that my English teacher was from South too).
4. The most important one, I searched for the bank account details the Lady provided for the money to be transferred, and what I found from the IFSC Code is that it was a State Bank of India account of a branch named 'Changtongya' in city Mokokchung of Nagaland. Now, this raises doubt how Delhi Airport will have their bank account in Mokokchung.
Anyhow, I definitely told Madhu not to pay any money at all. Now, I think it is some kind of fraud, but maybe by some amateurish people trying to rob my relative. I fear if it is true, they might have or will rob other innocent people too. I want guidance on what to do next, and how to proceed in a way that could not only be good for Madhu but also, be able to help other innocent people getting caught in such traps due to their blindness caused by the greed to get such materialistic benefits.
I hope I have been able to explain this complex situation clearly, if still any doubt arises, please email me at [deleted]
Will appreciate any help from you.
Thank you for your time and consideration.