TODAY -

WhatsApp cheating : Unexplained loss

Varun Kapoor *



The virtual world – a place where most is a mirage, an illusion. In that space is a much used public application – WhatsApp. This is a platform where a large number of citizens meet on a virtual platform and exchange ideas, information, news and happenings. The use of WhatsApp in a short space of 8 years has come to garner 1.2 billion or more accurately 120 Crores users globally. This is an astounding figure.

If all accounts on WhatsApp are genuine – it means WhatsApp has 17.14% of the entire world population as its user. The figures suggest that in India the total number of WhatsApp users has is over 20 Crores and 98% of the citizens today use WhatsApp as a social messenger! That means the days of SMS as the preferred means of communication text messages is long over, even in India.

The above facts and figures clearly show that WhatsApp use and utility are definitely on the rise. But that in no way indicates that it is a safe and secure utility. Dangers in unrestrained use of WhatsApp are many and they have to be guarded against.

In the beginning to this series of WhatsApp dangers is the glaring threat of mistaken or masked identity by the offender to lull the victim into a false sense of trust and then breaching the trust developed to attain the nefarious and criminal objectives. This was amply demonstrated in a recent case which occurred in a small town in Madhya Pradesh.

A small ornament trader of a small town Sendhwa was duped by a trickster using the anonymity provided by a virtual service like WhatsApp.

It happened thus that this trader by the name of Kushal met a person by the name of Monu Gupta on WhatsApp. With passage of time Kushal and Monu become good virtual friends and soon they decided to meet to take their friendship forward. Monu was a resident of the district headquarter town of Barwani. This is a small rural town in Western Madhya Pradesh. The two friends met in Sendhwa and had a good time together and then subsequently kept chatting via the quintessential App – WhatsApp. Their bond and trust in each other grew stronger with the passage of time.

One day Kushal informed Monu that he had to travel to the city Indore to sell some ornaments and he wanted to have Monu accompany him. This was as much for company as also for the security of having his trusted friend with him would provide. They set off from Sendhwa with destination Indore. On the way Kushal called the jeweler in Indore where he was to go to sell his goods.

But the buyers shop was closed for the day and the jeweler called Kushal the next morning. Rather than go all the way back – both Kushal and Monu decided to spend the night at a hotel called Minal and then after transacting their business the next day head back home. That’s exactly what they did.

But the hapless Kushal little realized what he was heading for. Monu was in fact all along waiting for such an opportunity to betray Kushal’s trust – one that he had earned so easily using the virtual world provided by WhatsApp.

At night as Kushal slept soundly, Monu collected all his valuables and decamped. The goods stolen included 3 KG of silver ornaments; cash and Kushal’s mobile phone! It was indeed ironic that the device which led to disaster for Kushal was also stolen by the accused. The next morning when Kushal realized that he had been very cleverly duped and robbed, he approached the nearest police station which happened to be Kishanganj, for help and retrieval of his lost goods.

Kishanganj police swung into action and tried to trace Monu Gupta at the address provided by Kushal. Much to their dismay they found that no one by the name of Monu Gupta existed at the address in Barwani.

With no option left and no time to spare they got down to technical surveillance of the phone number that the so called Monu was operating as well the stolen phone of Kushal. They soon struck payload and detected the presence of the accused in Barwani. They had him arrested. It turned out that the accused was not Monu Gupta at all. That was a fake identity that he had created and used to cheat the victim.

He was actually a waiter in a hotel in Barwani by the name of Deepak @ Love s/o Gyaneshwar Bhatti. He had very cleverly woven the web of deceit around the victim and once having won his trust – had cheated him and relieved him of all his valuables clandestinely. It turned out that the police arrested him and recovered the entire valuables that were stolen.

The victim Kushal thus got back all his goods but am sure never got back the trust he had so carelessly reposed on a stranger and that too in the virtual space.

Citizens should hence always keep in mind that the virtual world is very dissimilar to the actual world. WhatsApp is a application of the virtual space and many times what the user sees and hears on WhatsApp may not be the truth and fact.

Thus even if one meets a stranger in this space one should consider him with utmost suspicion and not trust immediately. Give the relation time; carry out security and background checks of the person and once convinced that the person is who he/she purports to be and is of decent lineage and trustworthy designs – only then should the relation be continued – otherwise it is best to chart a different course!

“Safety first” – that should be the motto.


[Views expressed in the column are of the author himself]


* Varun Kapoor wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is IPS – ADG Narcotics & PRTS Indore (MP)
This article was webcasted on October 28, 2018.



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