Cryptocurrency scams are on the rise
Hyderabad: The recent suicide in Suryapet, by a man who lost Rs 70 lakh due to cryptocurrency fraud, may be just the tip of the iceberg. According to conservative estimates by police officials, residents of the three police stations in Hyderabad, Rachakonda and Cyberabad lost at least Rs 9 crore in just one month to the world’s latest threat of online fraud.
Cryptocurrency investors are increasingly targeted by cyber crooks, with very few approaching the police after realizing they had been cheated, while some have remained silent or, like Suryapet’s man, have resorted to extreme measures. There have been 15 complaints filed in the capital region in the past month, with the amount lost amounting to more than Rs 9 crore, officials said.
According to law enforcement officials, fraudsters exploiting the cryptocurrency craze promise higher returns every day, for both cryptocurrency purchases and investments. They also assure investors to trade on their behalf and transfer profits directly to their accounts. They also assure them that the change can be easily withdrawn. This tension-free and risk-free investment option attracts many.
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G Ramalingaswamy (36 years old) from Khammam, allegedly committed suicide by consuming poison in a lodge in Suryapet after losing nearly Rs 70 lakh to crypto fraudsters. “Those who fall into their trap and start investing in cryptocurrency initially get good returns. Ultimately, fraudsters block accounts and confuse them, ”said a Hyderabad Cybercrime official.
Preliminary investigations into these frauds indicated that they were the work of interstate gangs in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai.
“Their main targets are mainly young people, entrepreneurs, students, IT specialists and working professionals. They reach out to these people through various modes of online and offline communication including social media, phone calls, emails, text messages and encourage them to invest, ”the official said.
Investigations also revealed that some gangs kept WhatsApp groups closed with secret names indicating cryptocurrency investments and adding hundreds of investors from various states as participants. Scammers and their accomplices have conversations about cryptocurrency investing in groups that attract them.
“They share daily updates on the profits and losses of cryptocurrency investing. They share models giving examples of high investments and returns, which attracts members. Once the participants have fallen into the trap, they contact them to invest in cryptocurrency, they have them download fake investment apps and invest money in them to start trading. Access to the account will mainly be reserved for scammers who give fake profit updates, ”an official said.
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