A Pune woman has been arrested for robbing 16 men she met through online dating platform by the Pimpri-Chinchwad police. According to Krishna Prakash, Commissioner of Police, the woman is 27 years old and a resident at Sadhu Vaswani chowk in Pune. She was arrested last month in January, placed in police custody, and later remanded to judicial custody by the local Pune court.  

Swipe right for getting robbed 

According to Pune police, the 27-year-old woman lost her job in pandemic and resorted to making quick money through unfair means. The woman’s father died in 2010, after which her mother developed mental issues for which she was getting medical attention. The Pune [olice claims that the woman used the medicines her mother was prescribed and used it against the men she met through a dating platform.  

Commissioner of Police, Prakash said, “She used the prescription of her mother who has a history of suffering from acute depression (and high blood pressure) to sedate the men she met through these dating applications. One was Restyl 0.5mg, of which 15 tablets were purchased and used, and Welprazone 0.5mg of which 10 tablets were purchased and five were used.” 

Although the Pune police confirmed that the woman robbed at least 16 men, only 4 of her victims ended up lodging a complaint. Assistant Police Inspector Ambrish Deshmukh spoke to news media and said, “One of the victims was an official of railways working in Pune and is a native of Uttar Pradesh. He told us that he was impressed with her communication skills and presentation that made it seem like she was from an affluent family. She tried to steal his jewelry, but she got caught. However, much after she had left, he realised that she managed to flee with ₹4,000 from his wallet.” 

The Pune police also came across 2 women whom the 21st-century mugger met through another dating application in 2018-2019. The woman blackmailed these 2 women and extorted them for money in exchange for keeping the secret of their sexuality private. Although these 2 women provided the information to the police, neither of them wished to come on record.   

The 27-year-old woman is a BCA dropout and has a brother working in a BPO. On her arrest, the Pune police ended up recovering cash and possessions in the form of jewelry worth Rs. 15.25 lakh. 

Other similar cases of online fraud through dating and matrimony apps

In India, both developing cities and metro cities have seen a sharp increase in virtual crimes like these. In the culture of hustle, people are unable to form and maintain relationships and have to resort to taking the help of apps that promise them a suitable partner. But there are cases when people end up losing their wealth and sometimes, even their lives, as they are trapped by a virtual assailant.  

In 2018, a 27-year-old man claimed to be a resident of New Delhi with an annual income of Rs. 25 crores on Tinder, a dating app for men and women. The man found a 27-year-old woman who was secretly operating in a criminal racket. The woman ended up kidnapping the man and asked him for money. When the man revealed that he didn’t have Rs.25 crore, the woman made a ransom call to his father and demanded Rs. 10 lakhs. The father promised to be able to pay-off only Rs. 3 lakhs, and as soon as the amount was transferred, the woman killed the man she kidnapped.  

In September 2020, a 25-year-old man was murdered by 2 men he met through a dating app in Delhi. The police said that the accused man had prior to murdering the man, had targeted multiple men and had robbed them.  

Down south in Hyderabad, a doctor was trapped in a fraud on an online dating app and was defrauded Rs. 42 lakhs. The doctor alleged that he was befriended by a woman on a dating app who defrauded Rs. 42 lakhs from him in multiple installments. Upon realizing that he was not receiving any response from the woman after the money transfer, the man approached Hyderabad Cybercrime police.  

In a similar incident in Hyderabad, in May 2020, a 44-year-old woman along with her son trapped an NRI and duped him of Rs. 65 lakhs by creating a fake profile on an Indian matrimony site. The woman on the fake profile claimed to be a doctor and weaved a sympathetic story of her father’s death and transfer of properties in her name. She then convinced the NRI man to fight legally with her mother and consequently duped him off the money.  

In May 2020, a 44-year-old woman and her son duped an NRI of Rs 65 lakh by creating a fake profile on a matrimony website. The woman who claimed to be a doctor from Jubilee Hills created a story of her father’s death and transfer of properties in her name. However, she asked the NRI for money to fight a legal battle with her mother.