Business 29 August 2018

Ed Drake

Indian call center BTC fraud scheme preys on foreigners

The latest scam to emerge around BTC has been uncovered in Mumbai, a fraud which is thought to have affected potentially thousands of people across the United States and other countries.

Seven people were arrested in the Mumbai suburb of Mira Road, in connection with a call center scam that had been soliciting payments in BTC. Specifically, the scammers would call unsuspecting victims purporting to be a representative of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), before demanding a payment of ‘loan tax’ in BTC.

Local police seized computer equipment and financial documentation from the suspects, which shed light on the nature and scale of the crimes.

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, Assistant Superintendent of Police Atul Kulkarni said the arrests came following a tip-off to police.

“Acting on a tip-off, the police raided a call centre in Mira Road area and arrested seven people, Assistant Superintendent of Police Atul Kulkarni said. A case under Section 420 (cheating) of the IPC and sections of the Information Technology Act was registered with Navghar police, and several computers were seized,” Kulkarni said, according to the news outlet.

Investigators have yet to confirm the number of possible victims, or the amount of money that may have been acquired through the fraud. However, according to media reports, the crime bears the hallmarks of previous scam, in which over 6,400 U.S. citizens were scammed out of millions of dollars.

It comes as the latest in a series of BTC fraud cases to come from India, which has seen a proliferation of scams of this kind in recent months.

One of the most high profile, BitConnect, has been labelled as a Ponzi scheme, after Divyesh Darji, one of its principal promoters, was arrested this week.

Defined by local press as a ‘multi-level marketing scheme’, Darji was arrested after flying to New Delhi from Dubai. A similar scam known as GainBitcoin saw BTC scammer Amit Bhardwa pull in over $150 million, after promising investment returns of as high as 10% per month.

With the sheer number of BTC scams doing the rounds, it’s worth remaining vigilant—especially around requests for surprise tax bills in BTC.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.

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