On the pretext of being offered bitcoins, a businessman from India’s capital city fell victim to a rather novel fraud – buying absolutely nothing in exchange for paying the pioneer cryptocurrency’s global prices to a purported cryptocurrency exchange representative.
During a bank visit in 2017, the unnamed businessman was approached by the fraudster, who claimed to be working for one of the “largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.” The businessman was soon allured by the latter to invest in bitcoins, which he could offer at “attractive” rates and generate handsome profits with.
The businessman was later sold a bitcoin for Rs. 5.4 lakh ($8,000), after much persuasion from the fraudster’s side. As stated, he received a text message after his purchase, claiming that the transaction was successful and that he was now the proud owner of 1 BTC.
A month later, the businessman sold his digital asset for Rs. 6 lakh ($8,894), generating a profit enough for him to trust the transaction, the salesman, and the currency itself.
Undeniably, the business was under the impression of having generated a good profit within a month, and gave in to the fraudster’s augmented offer – buy and hold a bitcoin for three months in return of a 50 percent profit.
The victim promptly agreed – bought a BTC for Rs. 6.5 lakh ($10,000), and sold it for Rs. 9.75 lakh ($14,459) three months later. Convinced of the legitimacy of the trade, he was then given a bigger offer.
However, here’s the catch – the bitcoins didn’t really exist – and the businessman did not buy them in reality. Instead, he was simply made to believe that he did possess a complex set of cryptographic codes which the world was going gaga over; when in reality all he bought was a confirmatory text message – nothing.
For the final showdown, the fraudster told the business to purchase 10 bitcoins, worth Rs. 91 lakh ($134,954) in return for a guaranteed profit within 20 days.
Fully trusting the legitimacy of the transaction, the business proceeded to borrow money from his friends and family and going ahead with the mammoth transactions.
And that’s when the tables turned.
The fraudster(s) fled with no whereabouts, leaving the businessman in complete distress. The businessman also claims to have visited the supposed company’s offices in New Delhi, only to find that no existing office set-up.
A case was registered at New Delhi’s Vasant Vihar police station after the victim’s complaint, and the fraudster remains absconding.
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