/Bengaluru lecturer loses bitcoins worth Rs 10 lakh to fraudster who offered help on app

Bengaluru lecturer loses bitcoins worth Rs 10 lakh to fraudster who offered help on app

(This story originally appeared in on Mar 17, 2021)

BENGALURU: A 38-year-old lecturer who was new to the cryptocurrency world lost bitcoins worth Rs 10 lakh to a fraudster who had promised to handle his cryptocurrency account.

Ramesh J (name changed), a resident of Palace Gutahalli and lecturer with a private college, lodged a complaint with Central CEN police on Saturday.

According to the complainant, the incident took place on February 22. Police sources said Ramesh recently logged in to CoinSwitch Kuber, a trading platform to buy, sell and manage cryptocurrency.

In order to understand the trading process, he also logged in to a few cryptocurrency rooms on Telegram mobile application, where people would share their views. An account hacker who messaged Ramesh personally said he could handle the bitcoins the latter has bought and ensure high returns.

Meanwhile, Ramesh tried to transfer Rs 90,000 to his wallet on CoinSwitch Kuber, but the attempt was unsuccessful. He raised a query on the Telegram group where the same person approached him saying he was aware of the problem and would be able to resolve it quickly.

Believing him, Ramesh shared his credentials, including One Time Password (OTP). In the next few minutes, bitcoins worth Rs 10 lakh were transferred from Ramesh’s wallet to another wallet. The lecturer tried to retrieve them, but in vain.

In his statement to police, Ramesh said many other traders were facing transaction problems like him. Central CEN police have registered a case under sections of Information Technology Act and Indian Penal Code (IPC). A senior police officer said it’s the first-of-its-kind case they have registered and are exploring how they want to conduct probe.

“If it was about banks, there would be a regulator and banks could be approached. But when it comes to cryptocurrency, there are no regulators as such. We are planning to approach CoinSwitch Kuber to find a solution,” said a police officer.

The last time the city reported cryptocurrency theft was in March 2020. Ayushi Jain, a resident of Bellandur, allegedly stole 63.5 bitcoins worth Rs 3.7 crore from Bit-Cipher Labs LLP located on Outer Ring Road and was arrested. Investigation revealed she stole the bitcoins by typing a 24-word passphrase, which was written on a piece of paper by the victim.

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