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Odisha Police Issues Advisory to Combat Rising Online Investment Fraud

Bhubaneswar: The CID, Crime Branch of Odisha Police has issued an important advisory to protect citizens from falling prey to the alarming rise in online investment fraud cases. This move comes in response to the steep increase in fraudulent schemes promoted through online platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.

Rising Fraud Cases
In recent months, there has been a significant surge in online investment frauds, where fraudsters lure people with promises of high returns in a short period through investments in stock markets, shares, mutual funds, and IPO allotments. Many individuals have lost their hard-earned savings to these scams.

The statistics are alarming: in 2023, the CID Cyber Crime Police Station registered 22 cases involving approximately ₹8.5 crores in fraudulent amounts. In just the first four months of 2024, 25 more cases have been registered, with fraud amounts totaling around ₹17 crores.

Modus Operandi of Fraudsters
Fraudsters typically induce individuals to join WhatsApp and Telegram groups, promising high returns on investments. These groups are populated by gang members who create a false sense of legitimacy by claiming to have profited from the suggested investments. They use genuine photographs of industrialists or bankers to gain the victim’s confidence.

The fraudulent platforms recommended by these scammers display fake returns and wallet money. When victims attempt to withdraw their funds, they are compelled to deposit more money for withdrawal, trapping them in a cycle of fraud and financial loss.

International Operation
The fraudsters’ operations are sophisticated and often involve international transactions. Funds received from victims are converted into USD, then into bitcoin, and ultimately withdrawn in locations outside the country, including Dubai, China, and Hong Kong. The WhatsApp and Telegram channels used in these activities are often operated from locations such as Cambodia and Hong Kong.

Safety Tips for the Public
The CID-CB urges the public to exercise extreme caution when engaging in online investment activities. They recommend verifying the authenticity of entities offering financial services and being wary of unrealistic promises of high returns. Citizens are advised to use only genuine and authorized applications and websites for investment opportunities such as IPOs, stocks, and mutual funds.

To safeguard their investments, individuals should thoroughly scrutinize investment opportunities before making any commitments. The advisory emphasizes spreading awareness among family and friends, particularly the elderly, who might be more susceptible to these scams.

Reporting Fraud
If citizens encounter any suspicious online activities or become victims of cyber-related crimes, they are encouraged to report such incidents promptly to the 1930 toll-free call center. By remaining vigilant and following these safety guidelines, individuals can protect themselves from falling victim to online investment frauds.

The Odisha Police’s proactive measures aim to curb the growing menace of online investment fraud and protect the financial well-being of its citizens.

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