The desire to get rich overnight in the new fad of cryptocurrency investment has been fraught with landmines. People’s craze to invest in the virtual money backfired with Hyderabad police registering as many as 16 cases in the recent past.
Police said lack of knowledge on the part of investors, greed, and infallible behaviour in pursuit of the lure of the lucre is easily leading them to the crypto cheaters’ net.
Speaking to The Hindu , Additional Commissioner of Police (Crimes and SIT) Shikha Goel said that of the 16 cryptocurrency fraud cases, 14 were related to investment and trading. “People have been cheated of ₹ 3.45 crore in their greed for higher returns against investment in cryptocurrency,” she said.
Explaining the modus operandi of the ‘untraceable’ fraudsters, Ms. Goel said that people get a WhatsApp call or message from the fraudsters who will advise them to invest in cryptocurrency and get huge returns. “They will send a link to a website or app to the victims and explain them how to purchase cryptocurrency. After a successful purchase, the fraudsters ask them to transfer it to their private wallet for much higher returns,” she said.
As soon as the cryptocurrency is transferred to their wallets, the tricksters encash it by other exchanges and sell them for their personal gain. With a majority of the websites or mobile applications operating from either China or Nigeria, the police are facing difficulties in nabbing them. On many occasions, they were not even able to get the IP logs of the fraudsters, as the trading is done through the victims’ logs.
Ms. Goel cautioned the crypto purchasers not to transfer their virtual currency to any other private wallets, as it could lead to huge losses. “Once you get cheated, it is a dead end. Virtual money can never be traced back and returned to the original owner,” another officer said.
Earlier in the day, Ms. Goel said that they are seeing the emergence of loan app frauds after a brief lull again, as financier are offering loans through apps and harassing the defaulters. Five new cases were registered in recent times and there are over 46 such mobile applications, she said.
A large number of senior citizens were duped by cyber fraudsters and app-based investment frauds, which offer huge returns and cheat people, was the new trend in the world of cyber crimes, the officer said.