A senior citizen who thought he was investing money in cryptocurrency was cheated out of almost Rs 70 lakh after he received an invitation to join a group on Telegram, police said.
A man from Delhi has been arrested in the case.
The police said the complainant, a resident of Sinthee on the northern fringes of Kolkata, had lodged a complaint in March saying he had been approached by a stranger on WhatsApp who lured him into investing in cryptocurrency.
“The fraudsters convinced him to invest in cryptocurrency promising high returns. He was included in a Telegram group through which he was introduced to a crypto platform called Binance, where he invested money,” said an officer.
The complainant initially made small profits, which encouraged him to make larger investments. He invested Rs 69.84 lakh through Binance, the police said.
A few days later, when he realised that he had been duped, he found that the Telegram group had been deactivated, the officer said.
“This is a common modus operandi. Fraudsters create Telegram groups of eight to 10 members. The victim is included in such a group and given the impression that the other members are also investing in cryptocurrency and getting high returns. Once the victim invests a big amount, the group is dissolved and no one can be traced,” said a senior officer at Lalbazar.
In this case, too, investigators faced a dead end while tracking the Telegram group.
Following the money trail, cops located the bank account where a part of the complainant’s money had been transferred. “We came to know that the account was owned by Rahul Verma, 24. He was arrested from his home in East Babarpur, in northeast Delhi, on Saturday,” the officer said.
“Verma said he had been investing in cryptocurrency using his bank account. He had opened an account on Binance in January 2022, where he posted ads about selling cryptocurrency. He came in contact with a few people and companies through Binance, who purchased his crypto and transferred money to his bank account. We are verifying this,” the officer said.
He said Verma’s bank account could have been used as a “mule account” to transfer money swindled out of victims with or without his knowledge.