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Shocking Tinder scam: Man lost Rs. 20 lakh in cryptocurrency; Don’t fall for This

Tinder scam: A man lost Rs. 20 lakh after a fraudster trapped him into a cryptocurrency fuelled romance scam. Know how the scam works.

In a shocking Tinder scam, a US individual lost $277,000 or around Rs. 20 lakh worth cryptocurrency to a scammer who pretended to be his lover. Pulling a classic case of romance scam, this scammer trapped the victim on the Tinder app and won his trust before stealing all his money. It all began when Mike matched with a woman named Jenny from Malaysia on the dating app. After exchanging some messages, the conversation moved to WhatsApp and the two began talking for long hours. It was a smooth sailing ride till the scammer brought up Bitcoin.

The incident which eventually resulted in the victim losing almost the entirety of his life savings, was first reported by NBC News. “She started telling me about her uncle who worked for J.P. Morgan…he was the world expert in Bitcoin options,” Mike told NBC News. He added, “ I wasn’t look[ing] to invest in cryptocurrency. I was looking for somebody to have some fun with, you know, ‘Let’s go hiking, let’s go have dinner”.

Tinder scam results in a man losing Rs. 20 lakh in cryptocurrency

Interestingly, despite growing close to each other, the two had never met. The scammer, who went by the name Jenny, claimed to live in Malaysia and Mike was living in the USA. But regardless, Jenny was able to convince him into investing in cryptocurrency. Initially the victim bought Bitcoin worth $3,000 from a legitimate website. Then she persuaded him to transfer the crypto to a different platform, which was a fake website designed to steal from the depositor. As the Tinder scam progressed, Mike kept investing more and more cryptocurrency into that account.

“She would get me excited and say, ‘Mike, so you got to send more money. The more you have in here, the more you can make,” said Mike. Four months later, Mike had spent upwards of Rs. 20 lakh. Mike began growing suspicious and tried to transfer out his money and found out that his account was locked. By the time Mike realized what had happened, Jenny was gone, along with all his money.

These romance scams have become very common these days. Recently Netflix released a documentary called The Tinder Swindler in which a fraudster named Simon Leviev made women fall in love with him and then stole all their money. It has also become important to not fall for such scams.

Recently, Tinder released a set of guidelines on how users can protect themselves against scammers. Check the steps below and ensure to protect yourselves.

How to protect yourself from Tinder scams

1. Believe your intuition: Understand that your intuition is your greatest wingman. Always make a decision based on your judgment. If something does not feel right, walk away, stop communicating, unmatch, block and report.

2. Take a look at their Photos: Scammers rarely use their own photos, so consider running a reverse image search on Google to see if their profile photo is used elsewhere on the internet. To run a reverse image search, simply take a screenshot of the image and check it either through Google lens, or turn on the desktop mode in your browser, go to Google Images and click on the camera icon.

3. Ask questions, make them answer: Much like you would in getting to know a potential match, get to know people on a personal level by asking all of the questions. Don’t hold back your questions out of hesitation. The only way to be sure is by asking the questions that come to your head. Also, read their responses and see if they are reluctant to provide any information which is not supposed to be sensitive.

4. Keep your social media private: Scammers can use details shared on social media and dating sites to better understand and target you. Avoid sharing personal details about family and friends, your home or work address or your daily routine

5. Never send money online to a stranger: Cyber Cell Delhi advises to never send money to someone you meet online, including providing credit card numbers, bank account information, wire transfers, your social identifying number or any other personally identifiable information.




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A Look At Major Scams In Recent Years

Despite market fluctuations and an uncertain legal status, cryptocurrencies continue to fascinate Indian investors. The number of crypto users and traders keeps increasing, and worryingly, many seem to be unmindful of the associated risks . These are not limited to market risks; they extend to extreme cyber frauds, involving highly skilled scammers.

In 2021 alone, Indian users visited crypto scam websites over 9.6 million times. According to Chainalysis, a software platform that tracks the criminal activities linked to cryptocurrency transactions, the most visited scam websites in India are coinpayu.com, adbtc.top, hackertyper.netdualmine.com and coingain.app among others. These five websites alone received about 4.6 million visits from Indian users.

Besides scam websites, Indian crypto enthusiasts have been duped by conmen and hackers over the years.

In December last year, the Finance Ministry, in a reply to the Parliament, said at least eight cases of cryptocurrency-related frauds are already under investigation by the ED.

Here are some of the top cryptocurrency frauds that happened in India:

Rs 2000-crore GainBitcoin Ponzi scheme scam

In 2018, Amit Bhardwaj, a businessman, cheated over 8,000 people of a total amount of over Rs 2,000 crore. He orchestrated a multi-level marketing scam and lured investors to give him Bitcoins in exchange for higher returns. He introduced a contract of 18 months offering a 10 percent return. Amit Bhardwaj defaulted on his promise, did not give returns and later fled the country. The Pune Police arrested Amit and seven others associated with him in March 2018.

The key accused of the GainBitcoin Ponzi scheme recently died of cardiac arrest on January 15.

Rs 1,200-crore Morris coin fraud 

The latest of the crypto frauds, the Morris coin fraud, was unearthed in 2022. Over 900 investors were allegedly duped of Rs 1,200 crore by a website offering a fake cryptocurrency called Morris coin. They had invested in the ‘initial offering’ of the fake cryptocurrency.

The fake crypto was said to be listed on the Coimbatore-based cryptocurrency exchange, named Franc Exchange, as an ‘initial coin offering.’ The investors were lured in with a promise of a daily return of Rs 270 for 300 days which was subject to a minimum deposit of Rs 15,000, which was supposed to be invested in Morris coin. Later it was found that the digital currency was not registered with any exchange, making it impossible to trade.

In 2020, Nishad, the prime accused, of the Morris coin scam, was arrested by Kerala police. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) later joined the investigation after several complaints were filed at various police stations in Kerala. The ED carried out searches in 11 places including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, after it was discovered that three Bengaluru-based companies were behind the entire plot. Nishad was also the director of one of the companies.

Karnataka Bitcoin scam 2021

The Central Crime Branch, the specialised investigating agency of Karnataka Police, reportedly seized 31 Bitcoins worth Rs 9 crore from a Bengaluru-based hacker in November 2021.

The prime suspect of the case is Srikrishna Ramesh, who is accused of hacking websites to get Bitcoins, which he eventually used to procure drugs from the dark web. Ramesh has gone underground after he was released on bail in November last year.

(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)

First Published: IST


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Cryptocurrency fraud ‘exploding’ in Canada, according to consumer advocacy groups

An Alberta woman has another warning about so called “digital gold” and the rush to cash in on cryptocurrency.

Watch:

B.C. man loses retirement savings to cryptocurrency scam

A Calgary investor — new to cryptocurrency and crypto assets — told Global News she is out roughly $2,500 due to what she believes is fraudulent activity.

“I was being very adventurous and very unprepared for what I was investing in,” Isabelle Lévesque said.

“I trusted them. I can’t believe I got caught.”


Calgary investor warns others after losing $2,500 in crypto investment.


Global Calgary

Lévesque said she found company TrueNorthBit, a cryptocurrency exchange platform, while looking online a few months ago. She reached out and the company was quick to respond. She said she continued to get calls from the company regularly over the next few weeks.

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“They kept insisting on talking to me on the phone,” she said. “They wanted to get to know me better.”

Lévesque said company representatives gained her trust, so she trusted them with her money. Especially, she added, when she started seeing returns.

“The profits just kept growing every day. At one point, just within two weeks, I had made $200 in profit.”

But then Lévesque said she was pressured to invest more — thousands more. She said she was told if she didn’t put in about $10,000 total, she would be transferred to a more junior advisor and would not see the returns she had been seeing.

Read more:

More than $1 million lost to crypto scams this year: Guelph police

She refused and instead decided to start the process of taking all of her money out — with the help, she said, of TrueNorthBit.

“This lady called me and started to direct me to do all kinds of transactions that I didn’t understand,” Lévesque said.

“The balance that night, the balance on my account that I could see online, was zero.”

Read more:

Aylmer man loses $141,000 in cryptocurrency scam: police

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Lévesque sent email after email to the company, which Global News has obtained.

In one them she asks: “What did you do to my account? You didn’t call me back as scheduled on Dec. 24 and my account with TrueNorthBit shows $0. I didn’t receive my money.”


Click to play video: 'Tips to avoid bitcoin scams'



Tips to avoid bitcoin scams


Tips to avoid bitcoin scams – Mar 1, 2018

An email response from the support department at TrueNorthBit reads: “As we can see, you have lost the amount due to trading activities, please check your closed positions for further information.”

Lévesque is adamant she did not trade anything and added she just did what the representative told her to do.

Global News tried to contact TrueNorthBit for a response to her claims. We sent numerous emails directly to the representatives that were in charge of handling Lévesque’s accounts. We also called both the Canadian and UK phone numbers listed on the emails, but we did not get any response.

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Click to play video: 'What you need to know before investing in cryptocurrency'



What you need to know before investing in cryptocurrency


What you need to know before investing in cryptocurrency – Nov 4, 2021

BBB warning

The Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay told Global News it has not received any other complaints about this specific company, but it has received eight other complaints about crypto investing.

“It’s kind of the wild west in the crypto asset market right now,” the BBB’s Wes Lafortune said. “It’s a big problem. It’s exploding.”

Lafortune said the median loss is $600 but he added there has actually been millions of dollars of losses due to cryptocurrency schemes and fraud in Canada.

Lafortune added the regulations around crypto investing are starting to “catch up” but he said real change is still a long way’s off. He suggested investors do their research, get investment advice from someone they trust, and don’t be in a hurry or feel pressured to invest.

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“It’s a bit of the gold rush mentality,” he pointed out. “People want to make a quick buck and there’s promises of huge profit, huge gains and those usually don’t materialize.”

“Bottom line is don’t invest in a crypto asset unless you can afford to lose the money.”


Click to play video: 'Hackers walk away with $32 million in crypto-heist'



Hackers walk away with $32 million in crypto-heist


Hackers walk away with $32 million in crypto-heist – Jun 20, 2018

Alberta Securities Commission alert

The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) told Global News it is also aware of parties engaging in fraudulent investment schemes, including some in relation to crypto assets/cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

It and the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) recently issued alerts to investors warning of the dangers.

The ASC said it is focused on educating Albertans about investing, including investing in crypto assets, adding they are very high risk and not suitable for all investors. It has also added a number of resources on its site to help investors check which sites are registered.

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It also strongly encouraged Albertans to ignore unsolicited crypto asset investment offers received online or through social media.


© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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