India is an emerging Bitcoin market. As more people get to know about the cryptocurrency, the target audience for scammers is also on the rise. According to recent reports, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting the wealthy and affluent in the country, scamming them of their money by promising Bitcoin in return.
Bitcoin scams, like any other investment scam, is prevalent across the world. The ones who fall prey to these are generally those who are new to cryptocurrencies. Many Indian’s have taken an interest in Bitcoin following the recent demonetization move, which almost crippled the economy. Their lack of understanding of the cryptocurrency and a desire to be part of the movement, especially with Bitcoin’s performance in recent months have made them an ideal prey for criminals.
A leading Indian news outlet recently published the story of an Indian businessman who was defrauded of INR 8.5 lakhs by an alleged Bitcoin miner. According to the report, the miner promised to pay him ten bitcoins in return for the investment, assuring the investment to increase by two-fold in 6 months.
While the report is unclear about what happened later, it suggests that the person posing as a miner failed to transfer the ten bitcoins as promised. The publication also goes on to quote law enforcement officials stating an increase in bitcoin-related frauds in the country since the demonetization.
“Cases of fraud related to bitcoins are becoming more frequent. This [increased acceptance of Bitcoin among global companies] has attracted many new investors. However, cashing on its rising popularity, some scammers are also running fraud set-ups,” said a senior crime branch officer.
The article also states that the businessman decided not to file a complaint as Bitcoin is not a recognized currency according to the Reserve Bank of India. The Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India are hesitant to give the digital currency a legal status due to various reasons.
Instead of warning the users of the risks of associated with Bitcoin, people should be educated about the cryptocurrency and its uses. It will enable them to take informed investment decisions. The cryptocurrency companies in the region are already involved in creating awareness about the digital currency. They are also organizing meetups and conferences for that purpose. At the same time, the country’s exchanges have also formed an alliance to standardize self-regulations and to influence regulatory policies.
It is always advisable for the investors to do some background research and due diligence before investing in any asset. If anything sounds too good to be true, it often is. Once people start taking these precautions, they can avoid being scammed by criminals.
Ref: India Today | Image: NewsBTC