By A STAFF REPORTER
December 11, 2007
Hackers in Nigeria got into the email account of a Calcutta-based
professor and duped one of his friends of more than a lakh.
The hackers wrote from the email address of Ratan Khasnabish, who
teaches in Calcutta Universitys business management department, to a
businessman friend, saying he had run out of cash in Nigeria and
immediately needed money to clear his hotel dues. The recipient (name
withheld on request) had sent the amount through electronic money
The mail that the friend received on December 7 read: I am in Nigeria to
participate in a conference and have lost my passport, credit card and
handbag containing dollars while travelling in a taxi. The management of
the hotel where I checked in is asking me to clear the dues immediately.
Otherwise, they will throw me out. Please send me $2,500 immediately.
The friend did not suspect any foul play, as he knew Khasnabish travels
a lot. I sent the money on December 8 to George Pen, who the mail said
was one of the agents of the hotel, said the friend.
But he became suspicious on receiving a second mail from Khasnabishs
email address. This time, the hackers asked for $1,800 to pay the air
fare from Nigeria to Calcutta. I sent a reply in Bengali, written in
Roman script, asking the sender to write back to me in the same style.
But there was no response. I then called Khasnabish on his cellphone and
learnt that he was in Calcutta, not Nigeria, recalled the friend.
Khasnabish, who has lodged a complaint with the state home department
and the CID, said the hackers had sent a similar mail to another friend
who lives in Ahmedabad. But he called me as soon as he received it.
Rajeev Kumar, the special inspector-general (operations) of CID, said:
The victim should have called up Khasnabish before sending the money.
Earlier, a number of people were duped on being told that they had won
several lakhs in a lottery and would have to pay a clearance charge to
receive the money.
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