• April 30, 2017
    Last updated less than one minute ago

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Woman poses as ‘cancer patient’ on Facebook to con donors

Raises Rs2.2 million, is arrested

14:59 April 21, 2017

Hyderabad: Police on Friday arrested a 22-year-old woman who raised Rs2.2 million (Dh125,080) by posing as a cancer patient on Facebook.

The rip-off came to light when some Saudi Arabia-based donors went to a hospital in Hyderabad to inquire about her health but were shocked to find that there was no cancer patient by the name of Samia Abdul Hafiz.

According to police, Samiya, who was working in Riyadh, created a #GoFundSamiya page on the Facebook to seek help from netizens by posing as a woman suffering from breast and throat cancer.

Her father, Abdul Hafeez, was a cancer patient, and she used his story, medical record and prescriptions to lend credibility to her tale, saying she had spent all her money on his treatment and could no longer fund her own.

The appeal was backed up by a video recorded by Dr Mohana Vamsy of Omega Hospital in Banjara Hills. He participated in the video, explaining about the cost of cancer treatment, because he thought it was for her father.

Samiya also manipulated hospital records and prescriptions for this purpose.

Once her appeal went viral on social media and the #GoFundSamiya page caught the attention of the people in many parts of the world, money started pouring into her account in the State Bank of Hyderabad and continued to do so for eight months, until March, when she collected Rs2.2 million.

Her father was treated from September-February in a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In February, the family relocated to Hyderabad.

When the hospital authorities caught wind of her deceit, they lodged a complaint at the Banjara Hills police station.

Thereafter, she was arrested her from her house in Sayeedabad area of old city. Police inspector K Srinivas said that he had also written to the bank to freeze her account but by then only Rs5,000 were left in it. “The girl told us that she had returned Rs10 lakh [Rs1 million] to some of the donors and [the] rest she had spent on herself.” The police has registered a case of cheating and forgery against her.

Most of the donations had come from the people in the Gulf who were moved by her story.