KEY POINTS

  • Crypto scams in India targeted wealthy individuals with one of them losing $3.7 million in a Bitcoin wallet scam
  • Scammers lure people through social media apps, enticing them to use fraudulent wallet apps
  • In 2019, crypto scams resulted in $4.5 billion in losses

Cryptocurrency scams in India have managed to lure rich investors to participate in fake get-rich schemes in the latest Bitcoin scandal.

After the cryptocurrency ban was lifted last March, the country experienced a surge in crypto trading and also an increase in scams, India TV News reported. 

The scams have targeted wealthy individuals, some of them losing over $50,000 after dealing with fake platforms. Another individual lost Rs. 28 crore ($3.7 million) in a Bitcoin wallet scam.

Scammers targeted people by messaging them on social media groups,  inviting them to buy or sell Bitcoin through their unique apps. The catch is that these apps would have better rates or trade opportunities not found in other apps. But when the individual puts or buys Bitcoin on these wallets, the scammers would disappear and would stop communicating with the victims. 

Manan Shah, founder of Avalance Global Solutions, said the transactions usually happen through payment solutions like Swift Global Pay (SGP), Insta Global Pay (IGP) and International Global Pay. Some of these services reportedly have bad reviews on Q&A site Quora.

Sumit Gupta, founder of Indian crypto exchange CoinCDX, expects scams to continue as cryptocurrencies’ popularity continue to soar. Gupta said scammers are now using complicated techniques to lure investors into parting away with their coins so individuals should have knowledge of at least basic online security principles to take care of their cryptocurrencies. He advised investors to do their own due diligence, keep their device updated and use security solutions on their mobile phones.

Cryptocurrency scams are on the rise all over the world as the crypto market experienced a price surge on the back of Bitcoin’s price appreciation. The benchmark cryptocurrency has recently moved away from consolidating at the $9,000 level and is currently sustaining a breakout at $12,000.

Data from analytics firm CipherTrace revealed that cryptocurrency theft surged to $1.7 billion in 2018 and nearly $1.4 billion between January to May 2020. While the firm mentioned coronavirus-related crypto scams were minimal, it warned that this year’s crypto crime could be on track to be the second largest on record. In 2019, crypto scams resulted in $4.5 billion in losses worldwide.

India flag The Indian government is evaluating the launch of its own cryptocurrency, according to unconfirmed reports. Here, a street vendor sells trinkets adorned with the Indian Flag at the Indian Gate monument during Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi, Aug. 15, 2012. Photo: ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/GettyImages