Cryptocurrencies have been a buzzword, even when the market is heavily fluctuating. Although the number of crypto traders and enthusiasts keeps increasing, worryingly, may appear inconsiderate of the associated threats.
However, these are not limited to market risks; they extend cyber scams involving highly proficient crooks.
In 2021, the number of crypto scams in India visited over 9.6 million times. Coinpayu.com, adbtc.top, hackertyper.net, dualmine.com, and coingain.app are the most visited scams websites in India.
These five websites have received approximately 4.6 million visits of Indian origin.
Apart from websites, Indian crypto enthusiasts have also witnessed hackers from time to time. In December 2021, the Finance Ministry, replying to the Parliament, expressed at least eight issues of cryptocurrency-related scams are already under investigation by the ED.
Rs 2000-crore GainBitcoin Ponzi scheme scam
In 2018, Amit Bhardwaj, a businessman, cheated over 8,000 people of an aggregate amount of more than 2,000 INR crores. He staged a multi-level marketing scam and attracted investors to give him Bitcoin in exchange for higher returns.
He presented an agreement of 18 months offering a 10 percent return. Amit Bhardwaj defaulted on his promise, did not provide the said return, and escaped the country. Nevertheless, Pune Police charged Amit with seven other associates in March 2018. The main accused of the GainBitcoin Ponzi recently died of a heart attack on January 15, 2022.
Rs 1,200-crore Morris coin fraud
The latest crypto scam, the Morris coin scam, was excavated in 2022. In that scam, over 900 investors were allegedly deceived the amount of 1,200 INR crores by a website offering a fake cryptocurrency called Morris coin. These investors had invested their money in the initial offering of that fake cryptocurrency – Morris Coin.
Another fake crypto was listed on the Coimbatore-based cryptocurrency exchange, as Franc Exchange, as an initial coin offering.
The investors invested their money with a promise of a daily return of 270 INR for 300 days, which was subjected to a minimum deposit of 15,000 INR. This money was further invested in Morris Coin – the fake coin.
Later on, the exchange was founded as an illegal exchange, making it impossible to trade.
Karnataka Bitcoin scam 2021
The Central Crime Branch, the specialized investigating agency of Karnataka Police, reportedly charged 31 Bitcoins worth 9 INR crores from a Bengaluru-based cyberpunk in November 2021.
The prime suspect Srikrishna Ramesh was accused of hacking websites to acquire Bitcoins, which he ultimately utilized to procure drugs from the dark web.
However, Ramesh has gone confidential after his discharge on bail in November last year.
Frequently Asked Questions: Stockative
How many cryptocurrencies do cybercriminals hold?
Cryptocurrency holdings among cybercriminals are known as criminal balance. The holding amount has jumped from around $3 billion in 2020 to over $11 billion in 2021.
In addition, most of these were dominated by stolen funds, which contributed $9.8 billion of all crypto holdings with criminal in 2021.
Is there a link between cryptocurrency and crime?
Crimes related to cryptocurrencies have grown in price, popularity, and mainstream adoption rapidly for the past few years. With this volume, a link between cryptocurrency and crime is, unfortunately, inevitable.
Is cryptocurrency crime on the rise in 2021?
The crypto crimes have observed a high rise in 2021, specially stolen funds. Illicit transactions touched an all-time high, surging nearly 80 percent to $14 billion from $7.8 billion in 2020.
What are the latest crypto frauds?
The latest crypto scam, the Morris coin scam, was excavated in 2022. In that scam, over 900 investors were allegedly deceived the amount of 1,200 INR crores by a website offering a fake cryptocurrency called Morris coin.