In 2021, cryptocurrencies have seen a massive expansion in several parts of the world, including India. Around 100 million Indians are said to be experimenting with the crypto space at a time when the government is still debating its official stance on cryptocurrencies. Impacted by a lack of research and awareness, many crypto-enthusiast Indians are finding their way onto scam websites, according to new research from Chainalysis. In 2021 alone, fake crypto websites saw 9.6 million visits from India, according to the report.
With the boom in the crypto space, the cases of cyber criminals scamming innocent investors have been increasing around the world lately.
The top five fraudulent crypto websites visited by Indians in 2021 included Coinpayu.com, Adbtc.top, Hackertyper.net, Dualmine.com and Coingain.app, according to a report by Mint citing data from Chainalysis.
Many of these websites are created to illegally collect personal information from visitors without their knowledge or consent. The names, emails, and phone numbers, among other sensitive details of potential crypto investors, are often collected by these malicious websites, putting them at risk of being scammed again.
Some of these scam websites also offer fake investment plans to crypto investors, leading to cases like Morris Coin fraud.
Earlier this month, for example, at least 900 people were identified as having been defrauded of more than $161 million (about Rs 1,200 crore) in Kerala due to a crypto scam. The victims were would have tricked into investing in an “initial coin offering” issued by a Kerala man for a non-existent cryptocurrency called Morris Coin.
The scammers also contacted potential crypto investors using mainstream networking apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.
In November last year, the official Shiba Inu cryptocurrency Twitter account alerted investors to a money duplicating scam doing the rounds on Telegram.
The Chainalysis report, however, noted that the number of Indians visiting fake crypto websites has dropped significantly as of 2020. Two years ago, Indians visited crypto scam websites over 17.8 million of times.
In a bid to create awareness in the crypto industry in India, several industry bodies are taking action in their respective capacities.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), for example, formed the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Council (BACC) in 2021 to disseminate information on cryptocurrencies.
Telangana state authorities have also signed deals with CoinSwitch exchange Kuber and innovation management firm Lomos Labs to mark the blockchain education-focused initiative in India.
Indian crypto exchanges such as CoinSwitch Kuber have also added warning features on their platforms to alert investors when considering the purchase of any volatile or relatively unknown cryptocurrency.
Crypto scams cost investors more than $7.7 billion (about Rs 58,697 crore) last year, a report by Chainalysis revealed in December.
Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, which is not legal tender and is subject to market risk. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, business advice or any other advice or recommendation of any kind offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be liable for any loss resulting from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.
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