According to news outlet, The Hindu, police in Mumbai have charged a Pritam Patil, who is accused of scamming twelve people out of $250,000 in a crypto deception. Patil allegedly asked victims to invest in the initial coin offering (ICO) of his KBC Coin, named after Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”.
Patil told his victims that the KBC coin was worth $0.0056, but that it would rise to $1 by March 2018. He asked victims to pay in cash, and didn’t give them any information about his company. After he got the money, he apparently changed the name of KBC to AFC Mint coin, then his website shut down in September 2018.
One of the victims, Nanasaheb Patil, filed a case with the police saying that Patil “cheated him and his employees” by promising good returns on his scheme. Twelve employees were interested in investing but when they wanted to see company documentation, they were told that the URL of the company served as its documents and that transactions were only undertaken in cash. Mr Patil was told that an ID generated on his payment would serve as a receipt.
DCP Crime Branch, Tushar Doshi, said: “Mr Patil gave a written application to us. We found that he and his employees were cheated by the accused by creating a fake virtual company”.
Although the website no longer exists, there is a Hindi YouTube video available online where users are warned in February 2018 about this ICO being a scam.
Investors Must Learn How To Spot Red Flags
Mumbai is already familiar with crypto scams. Last year, authorities discovered a $75 million ICO scam called Money Trade Coin, in which Indian police themselves were among the accused.
Some victims in crypto scams in India are afraid to contact the police because they fear repercussions thanks to the Indian cryptocurrency regulations. It can also be difficult to spot a genuine ICO from a fake one.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission set up a fake website to warn investors of scams. HoweyCoin promised to revolutionize the luxury travel industry, but the moment you try to buy the tokens, you are redirected here, where users are educated on how to spot red flags in fraudulent ICOs. Perhaps the Indian government should follow suit?