He met her on Tinder. Started chatting on Whatsapp. They hit it off. But it was a trap, a trap that cost him 14000 USD or 10.5 lakh INR.
Sunil (name changed) sends a long message and few screenshots with me after I asked him to share his story. A mutual acquaintance had given me his details. His story is long, one that has more layers than a regular onion, but in the first three lines, he says the words that would ring the alarm bells in any crypto trader’s mind. However, it didn’t alert Sunil, he had never heard of crypto before and didn’t know how scammers operate. The line was:
“she explained me about cryptocurrency by that we can earn more money in a short duration”Sunil, the victim of a crypto scam.
Sunil wanted to build a home in his home town. That was his nerve, the nerve that scammers pressed to get him to invest in a non existent crypto token.
From the tens of Whatsapp Screenshots that Sunil shared with me, I could make out that the first promise was a 70% “revenue” on investment amount. A promise of 70% return, from a beautiful Chinese Woman, seemed irresistible. He was careful though. But the scammer cat fishing Sunil was smarter, a veteran in scamming the innocents of their money, they said the right things at the right time to reel Sunil in. As it turns out, Sunil wasn’t the only victim to this scam either.
The First 500 USD
The scammer going by the name Cindy, asked Sunil to put in $500 in a project called VOST.
The Pitch: Private sale price of VOST is $2.5 but it will be $4.8 after launch in a couple months, hence 70% profit.
Cindy made Sunil buy 500 USDT on Binance P2P in July 2020. But he wasn’t convinced to invest in Cindy’s scheme yet.
Cindy then shared doctored proofs of her investment which was around $48000 to instill confidence in now skeptical Sunil. It would take more than that to convince Sunil to put in $500. Cindy however, continued to rope Sunil in.
She then told Sunil, he is one of her few friends she wants to make rich by treating them “Sincerely” and that once they make a lot of money, she will visit Chennai and he can take her on a trip. But even then he wasn’t sold.
Finally, she said,
“Don’t worry, if you lose money, I’ll double it for you.”Cindy the scammer
That worked. Cindy had successfully guilted Sunil into investing in Cryptocurrencies that were never to hit the market.
But Sunil wasn’t going to be a gullible target. He refused to invest anymore and was ready to take a loss of $500 as his worst case scenario.
Cindy, on the other hand, had a few more tricks up her sleeve.
Once Sunil shared his decision to not invest anymore, Cindy asked him to put in another $500. He disagreed. Cindy then told him she has over 5 years of experience in “Encrypted Currencies” and she wanted him to be rich. But Sunil didn’t budge.
Sunil asked her how many friends had she referred and what was her incentive to refer him. She said she only asked her “two best girlfriends” to invest and no one else besides him.
This went on for a few days, eventually Sunil had bought $2000 worth of VOST tokens from Cindy.
Now, he had to wait for “secondary markets to open” so he can sell and claim his 70% revenue. The secondary markets never opened.
But this wasn’t the end. In a few days, Cindy convinced Sunil to invest more in a 5G project and that’s when Shit hit the fan.
The 5G investment and a Fake Exchange
Cindy knew that Sunil was skeptical of the first scheme as he could not see a value on screen for his investment. This time, the scammers came better prepared for Sunil.
Cindy first shared details of a project that is working on the 5G technology. Their token is called “INF”.
The website for the token https://www.inftoken.pro/ is live. Our team also found another website neutronstar which is a clone of inftoken. The syndicate of scammers are using multiple projects to woo unsuspecting traders.
Cindy asked Sunil to create an account at an exchange called CoolCoin (CoolCoin.pro), the site is now inaccessible.
Sunil was then convinced to send USDT to the exchange and buy INF token. The site showed trading of INF and the price of the token going up steadily. This was enough to convince the gullible trader to invest more money, after all he wanted to build a house in his hometown.
Scammers and hackers are good at picking up one’s vulnerability and exploiting it. Sometimes, the traders themselves are gullible, even I accidentally invested in a scam token myself.
At one point when Sunil had already invested $14000 USDT in INF, his equivalent USDT shown on Cool Coin was $1789540. Sunil was looking at a whopping 120x on his investment.
But as they say, Not your keys, not your coins.
When Sunil wanted to cash out, withdraw his USDT, the exchange didn’t allow him to. And soon the site went offline, making Sunil realize, he was scammed.
After understanding what had happened to him, Sunil started finding help. He came across many people who had been scammed the same way as him.
Sunil filed a complaint with state police in December 2020. The case is currently “in progress”.
Coin Crunch has received several emails and messages about traders who got scammed in similar schemes. My heart goes to all the victims and I wish the scammers are caught and punished harshly so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. But you and I both know that is wishful thinking.
All we can do is educate as many as we can to protect themselves.
Beware of Scams
Scammers in any industry are smart enough to find and exploit gullible users. The only way to avoid being scammed is to truly be suspicious of everything and staying away from anything that is too good to be true.
If someone is promising huge returns, do not invest.
Is someone giving high interest? Do not invest.
Oh, did someone ask for money to unlock your account or resolve your issue? Do not send.
Are you being told that someone wants to give you money or need your help moving a large sum of money? Do not give them anything from your pocket.
Did anyone send you a screenshot of money transfer? It is fake until you see the money in the account yourself. Never trust screenshots.
It is advisable to stay safe and vigilant. If you have any doubts, ask around. Join our telegram group and let us know your issues, we will help you and we will never ask for money, so never give it to anyone who asks.