Busted: Indian Call Center Ring Duped Foreigners into Paying ‘Loan Tax’ in Bitcoin

August 28, 2018 12:52 UTC

A bitcoin fraud scheme has been unearthed in the Mumbai surburb of Mira Road. The scheme involved duping foreigners into parting with their money by informing them that they were behind in tax payments, according to the Hindustan Times.

Based on the personal financial information they had obtained from their victims including loan arrears and take-home salaries, perpetrators of the scheme would call their victims and demand that the ‘loan tax’ that was owed be paid through bitcoin.

According to Atul Kulkarni, the Assistant Superintendent of Police at the Thane Crime Branch, the fraudulent scheme was being carried out from a call center in the Mumbai suburb. Seven people aged between 22 and 42 were arrested after police raided the place following a tip-off. Equipment that was being used to commit the crimes including computers were also seized by the police. Investigators have yet to determine the amount of money the fraudsters had managed to obtain from their scheme.

‘Calling from the IRS…’

The bitcoin scam is similar to another one which was unearthed two years ago in the same Mira Road suburb. Then, around 6,400 residents of the United States were duped into paying millions of dollars using a similar tactic where the fraudsters posed as officials of the Internal Revenue Service.

As CCN has on numerous occasions reported, cryptocurrency fraud in India keeps hitting the headlines. Indian nationals namely Divyesh Darji, Dhaval Mavani and Satish Kumbhani are for instance believed to be the principal operators of the Bitconnect Ponzi scheme. Barely a week ago, for instance, Divyesh Darji, was arrested on his way to New Delhi from Dubai, according to the Criminal Investigation Department of India.

Million-dollar Fraudulent Schemes

Complete with its own token, cryptocurrency exchange as well as an investing platform, Bitconnect operated as a multi-level marketing schemes where investors were lured with promises of extremely high monthly returns from the referrals made. The Bitconnect scheme operated beyond India and this included in the United States where a cease and desist order in the state of Texas marked the beginning of the end of the scheme.

Another Indian national, Amit Bhardwaj, is also behind the infamous GainBitcoin Ponzi scheme which is believed to have raked in US$150 million. Just like with Bitconnect, GainBitcoin also operated as a Multi-Level Marketing scheme where the promised monthly returns on investment were as high as 10%.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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@cointributor

After words, numbers are my other love... mostly when they are going up and they have nothing to do with taxes or expenses. That makes green my favorite color! Currently a resident of Nairobi, Kenya. Follow me on Twitter @cointributor or email kointributor[at]gmail.com