In a distressing disclosure, a 53-year-old Indian engineer recently fell prey to a cryptocurrency investment scam that resulted in a loss of Rs 95 lakh — equivalent to US$114,230.
The unsuspecting victim, who lives in the Indian city of Bengaluru, was lured into the scam by a person named Sonia Shenoy, whom he met on Instagram two years back. Shenoy purported to represent a global investment firm dealing in Bitcoin (BTC).
The engineer trusted Shenoy’s representations and decided to invest over $114,000 worth of BTC last January, per the report. The plot thickened from last July when Shenoy, weaving a web of deception, told the victim that a substantial profit of Rs 2 crore (US$240,000) awaited him.
However, this windfall came with a catch – a payment of Rs 50 lakh for TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) was allegedly required. Undeterred and still trusting Shenoy, the engineer procured the requested amount by taking loans from various banks.
As the months unfolded, the harsh reality dawned on the engineer that the promised profit was nothing more than a mirage. The anticipated profit never came, leaving the victim grappling with the devastating realization that he had been duped.
Regrettably, this case is not an anomaly in Bengaluru. In 2021, a neophyte crypto trader and college lecturer living in the city lost Rs 10 lakh (US$12,000) to a scammer who suggested that he would be allowed to manage his trading account. The scammer promised lofty returns, which were never priced in.
The crypto market, while holding potential for legitimate gains, also harbors risks. Recently, crypto community sleuth ZachXBT called attention to another crypto Discord scam that reportedly resulted in losses of up to $880,000 in cryptocurrencies. The FBI also warned this month that scammers have begun impersonating VC executives.