Scams using cryptocurrency are on the rise.
Hyderabad: The recent suicide in Suryapet of a guy who lost Rs 70 lakh to a bitcoin scam might only be the beginning. People in the three commissionerates of Hyderabad, Rachakonda, and Cyberabad, according to cautious estimates by police officers, have lost at least Rs 9 crore in only one month to the latest menace in the realm of online fraud.
Cryptocurrency investors are increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals, with only a few reporting their losses to the authorities, while others have either remained silent or, like the man in Suryapet, taken drastic measures. According to authorities, 15 complaints were filed in the capital region in the previous month, with a total loss of more than Rs 9 crore.
Fraudsters taking advantage of the cryptocurrency frenzy, according to police officials, offer larger profits every day for bitcoin purchases and investments. They also guarantee that they will trade on their behalf and deposit profits straight into their accounts. They also guarantee them that they will be able to withdraw the cash quickly. Many people are drawn to this stress-free and risk-free investing alternative.
After losing over Rs 70 lakh to crypto scammers, G Ramalingaswamy (36) of Khammam allegedly killed himself by ingesting poison at a lodge in Suryapet. "Those who fall in their trap and start investing in cryptocurrency are initially given good returns. Eventually, fraudsters block the accounts and scoot," stated a Hyderabad Cybercrime officer.
Initial investigations revealed that the scams were perpetrated by inter-state gangs from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Mumbai.
"Their main targets are mostly youngsters, businesspeople, students, IT employees, and working professionals. They contact these people through various modes of online and offline contact, including social media, phone calls, e-mails, and SMS, and lure them into investing," the official said.
Investigations also found that certain gangs have been keeping private WhatsApp groups with secret identities, indicating cryptocurrency investments and inviting hundreds of investors from various states to join. In the groups luring them, the scammers and their accomplices conduct discussions about bitcoin investments.
"They share daily updates on cryptocurrency investment profit and loss. They share templates giving out instances of investments and high returns, this luring the members. Once the participants fall into the trap, they contact them to invest in cryptocurrency. They make them download fake investment apps and invest money in them to start trading. Access to the account will mostly be kept with the fraudsters who give fake profit updates," an official said.