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A new minefield: How conmen are cashing in on Delhi’s cryptocurrency craze

Last year in March, 24-year-old Kapil Singh, an employee at a private firm in Gurgaon, decided to cash in on the cryptocurrency boom. He and his friends looked up several social media handles that discussed investing in Bitcoin and Ethereum, and decided to put in money in a US-based company that seemed legitimate. Months later, Singh found out it was not.

Singh is among several people to have been duped by scamsters, who have found a new avenue in cryptocurrency and are using fake virtual currency or apps to con people. As per data from the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal, more than 50 complaints were lodged in Delhi from January to June last year; Delhi reported the second-highest complaints of crypto scams after Maharashtra, where 72 cases were lodged. The unofficial number, though, is likely higher.

Singh said: “I had started working in 2020 and wanted to invest in cryptocurrency. I came across a man on Twitter with a verified ID and lakhs of followers. His scheme seemed genuine as he said he has been investing in cryptocurrencies since 2009 and many celebrities tweeted about him.”

Singh and his friends started investing Rs 5,000- Rs 10,000 per month. Initially, they received some refunds and gifts. Some of Singh’s friends even received phones.

“We were very impressed. We found a scheme where you can spend Rs 25,000 and later receive a Samsung phone. Later, there was an Ethereum scheme where you could purchase coins through his website. I spent over Rs…

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