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Bitcoin Craze: How Fraudsters Are Fooling Investors With Fake Cryptocurrency

Taking advantage of the growing fascination with Bitcoin, numerous ponzi schemes have cropped up in the name of cryptocurrency, targeting thousands of unsuspecting investors.

Nitisha Kashyap | CNN-News18

Updated:January 18, 2018, 11:16 AM IST
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New Delhi: With the Bitcoin craze dominating conversations, discussion on cryptocurrencies have shifted from the geek's chatroom to the drawing rooms of aspirational Indians. And taking advantage of the situation are fraudsters. So beware if someone approaches you with an Indian version of Bitcoin and promises to double your cryptocurrency. In all likelihood, they are fake.

Over the past few months, investigating agencies have been flooded with complaints of alleged Bitcoin exchanges that are nothing but multi-level marketing schemes. Delhi Police have received several complaints and have started investigating some of these suspicious companies, apart from keeping a close watch on the others.

Taking advantage of the growing fascination with Bitcoin, numerous ponzi schemes have cropped up in the name of cryptocurrency, targeting thousands of unsuspecting investors.

Recently, the Delhi Police arrested 32-year-old Narendra, who was operating one of these dubious 'Indian cryptocurrency' companies, Kashh Coin. The action came after a west Delhi resident told police that he was convinced to invest in Kashh Coin and ended up paying Rs 15 lakh some six months ago. While he was promised a 1.8 times return every month, he never received a single penny in these six months. His wallet was created after two months and he was given the coins at a rate of Rs 4.5 per coin.

“They asked me to wait till their money exchanger comes. They also mentioned that some of their companies were awaiting clearance from the Govt of India and once these are cleared, I would start getting the money. They kept fooling me for six months,” said the complainant.

When the complainant later got to know about the number of people who had fallen prey to such companies, he approached the police. The Delhi Police lodged an FIR and has kept the identity of the complainant a secret fearing his safety.

Not just Kashh Coin, Narendra had also started another company under the domain of www.remitanzominin.com, whose modus operandi was similar to Kashh Coin.

Kashh Coin caught the fancy of many by organising high-profile events across the country. These events even had stars like Ravi Kishen attending it. The Kashh Coin events were not just restricted to Lucknow, Surat, Chandigarh, Raipur or Mumbai but even a few places in Nepal.

Kashh Coin claims to be a cryptocurrency company, but police say it is nothing but a ponzi scheme.

Working on a similar case, Delhi Police officials said they have received a complaint against one Amit Bharadwaj, who owns GainBitcoin. Through multi-level marketing, Bharadwaj asked over a thousand people to invest in this firm. He convinced people and told them that he will do mining of Bitcoin and return 1.8 times more money within 18 months, which translates to an income of 10% every month.

However, since mid 2017, he has not paid any money and later fled from India. A resident of Shalimar Bagh, Bharadwaj now has an office in Dubai.

Investigation in the case is still underway and Delhi Police has recorded the statements of several victims.

The Delhi Police is also keeping a close watch on a few other such cryptocurrency platforms such as LLC Coins, Bullcoin and Laxmi Coin. Interestingly, Laxmi Coin claims to be in compliance with Reserve Bank of India guidelines, which is far from the truth.

Police said they have still not received any complaint against these companies, but their workings are similar to those that they are already investigating.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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