Indian police in the country’s capital city of Delhi are reportedly investigating a bitcoin theft wherein a woman’s wallet was allegedly ‘hacked’ by scammers to siphon away 6.5 bitcoins, approx. $54,000 in current prices.
According to a local report, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – India’s primary law enforcement and intelligence agency – has begun a probe into an alleged theft of bitcoins from an individual’s wallet. The investigation, headed by the agency’s economic offences wing, is looking into the victim’s claim of losing just under 7 bitcoins in total last year.
The victim said she first invested around 0.4 bitcoins in an unnamed firm that promised 12% monthly returns on investment over seminars in five-star hotels, in February 2017. The returns started turning up in her bank account, prompting her to put more money into the scheme.
“I invested all my savings in the company along with my friends and family members,” she told the Times of India, having invested again in the company in May 2017 with funds matured from her mutual fund policy. Those returns, in Indian fiat rupees, stopped in August 2017. Subsequently, the company reportedly started issuing returns to investors with its own cryptocurrency. While details are scarce on the purported crypto tokens issued, the woman asked the firm to return her invested money after a disagreement over getting paid in tokens.
Come October, the victim claimed she was contacted by the company to process the return of her funds. In order to do so, the firm reportedly asked for her email ID and password registered with the company’s website. The victim, upon sharing her credentials, soon discovered that her email and her bitcoin wallet had been accessed maliciously. Presumably, she used the same credentials uniformly across the platforms.
She told the publication:
“On November 8, 2017, my blockchain wallet was hacked, which had 6.5 Bitcoins. The hackers also deleted all the data on my email ID.”
India, like many other countries globally, has seen soaring interest in cryptocurrencies by adopters and traders alike in recent years. Predictably, the rise in the mainstream prominence of decentralized cryptocurrencies has also birthed a number of crypto-scams in the country, which sees no regulation for the industry presently.
“Cases of fraud related to bitcoins are becoming more frequent,” a senior Indian crime branch officer said last year. ”[Bitcoin’s increasing popularity and acceptance around the world] has attracted many new investors. However, cashing on its rising popularity, some scamsters are also running fraud set-ups.”