Select Page

BENGALURU: A woman software engineer, who was looking to earn some extra money by doing part-time jobs to clear her loan of Rs 20 lakh, lost Rs 80 lakh to cybercrooks. Further, in the guise of helping her get her money back, the fraudsters made her purchase cryptocurrency for them and used her bank account to receive money from several cybercrime victims.

Saanvi (name changed), 47, a resident of east Bengaluru and working with a reputed firm, told East CEN Crime police in her complaint that she was browsing the web for part-time jobs to clear her loan at the earliest. On November 24, she got a WhatsApp message from an unknown number asking her if she was interested in doing a part-time job. When she showed interest, she got a call from a person who said she just needed to take up some tasks and search for popular brands on the Internet to push up their ratings. She was told she could earn Rs 500-600 by working an hour a day and by spending more time, it could go up to Rs 2,000.

They sent her letters confirming her investments under fake letterheads

Saanvi was included in a Telegram group with nearly 2,000 members. She was told there were tasks that cost Rs 2,000 to Rs 10 lakh, and she would get 30% profit in 20 minutes. When Saanvi didn’t participate in the tasks for two weeks, the group was flooded with screenshots of bank transactions from members who claimed they had made profits from the tasks.

Saanvi initially took up a Rs 2,000 task and got her profit. She began taking up 2-3 tasks daily for week. When Saanvi inquired about taking up a Rs 5 lakh task, she was moved to another Telegram group, named ‘Rs 5 lakh’.

Assured a profit of Rs 1.2 lakh, Saanvi invested Rs 5 lakh. The fraudsters said her money was invested with a cryptocurrency merchant.

Later, the fraudsters claimed that the merchant faced losses and made her invest another Rs 12 lakh, assuring returns on both investments. Left with only Rs 1 lakh in her account, Saanvi enquired where her money was invested. The fraudsters reeled out names of reputed companies and even shared letters in the respective company letterheads confirming her investments.

Asked to invest more money to get all her investments back, she told them she was broke.

“They claimed that because of me, other investors were suffering. I was literally trapped as I had already invested Rs 17 lakh. I raised a bank loan and overdraft from another bank. I took the third order for Rs 26 lakh. Then they told me I had to pay income tax for earnings from my three investments. I told them I don’t want any profit, I just need my money back,” she told TOI.

Offered job in crypto firm

Having paid Rs 80 lakh till December 18, 2023, Saanvi had run out of money when the miscreants offered her a job in a cryptocurrency firm.
“They got me to create an account in the ‘Binance’ portal, buy cryptocurrencies using the money they sent me, and transfer the same to their company. I received up to Rs 3 lakh a day from different accounts, bought cryptocurrency with it, and transferred it to the company. After 28 days of working, I wasn’t paid and their phones remained switched off,” she narrated.

A bigger shock awaited Saanvi when she went to her bank to check the transactions. “I found out that there were two police complaints against my account and the people who had sent the money to my account were victims like me,” she said.

A senior police officer said the woman’s account was used as a mule account without her knowledge. “She lodged a complaint on Jan 27. Though it was too late, we were able to freeze Rs 30 lakh in multiple accounts of the fraudsters,” the cop explained.

  • Published On Feb 2, 2024 at 03:15 PM IST

Join the community of 2M+ industry professionals

Subscribe to our newsletter to get latest insights & analysis.

Download ETBFSI App

  • Get Realtime updates
  • Save your favourite articles

icon g play

icon app store

Scan to download App
bfsi barcode

Share it on social networks