Cryptocurrency has been largely restricted within the borders of India, which would essentially keep investors and scammers from pursuing these endeavors, right? No, not really. In fact, if anything, the hackers and scammers that enter the region must enjoy the challenge, because it hasn’t stopped them from their criminal activities.
This point is only supported by the fact that local resident Pritam Patil was arrested by the Mumbai police for their $250,000 cryptocurrency scam.
The alleged scam involved 12 investors, who were all asked by Patil to invest in his initial coin offering (ICO) for the KBC Coin, which he developed in homage to Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC). The show is much like the American television show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire,” but it is set in India. To convince the potential investors, Patil promised good returns, while predicting that the $0.0056 price tag would rise to a full dollar by March last year.
Based on research, it looks like the KBC Coin ICO scam could’ve been started at the end of 2017 when the crypto market originally boomed. However, Nanasaheb Patil only filed an injunction last week that reported the ICO as a fraud.
The report from the victim stated that Pritam Patil and colleague Pintu Bajaj had been visiting his office for months to convince him to invest. Nanasaheb Patil and 11 other members of the company ultimately invested, which was done in cash. No registration documents or other paperwork that would validate the claims of being a real ICO were ever produced, but somehow these victims chose to still invest.
After the investments, the name changed to the AFC Mint coin, and the website was shut down by September last year. When Nanasaheb Patil contacted Pritam Patil, the victim was told that the business had shut down and expressed no intention of providing refunds or returns on the investment. Right now, the website cannot be accessed, but a video from February last year can be found on YouTube to warn about the scam.
In June last year, Mumbai authorities discovered Money Trade Coin, a $75 million ICO scam. Making this situation even worse, the authorities determined that one of the accused scammers was a policeman.
Unfortunately, due to the uncertainty in the regulatory environment in India, most people who succumb to these scams do not report them. By refraining from doing so, the scams continue and gain more money as they progress.
Considering how difficult it can be, in some situations, to see that an ICO is a fraud, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had setup a website that was meant to be for a fake ICO. It did not accept any money, but it would educate investors if they were about to pursue the scam, telling them what to look out for. Perhaps India would end up with fewer scams with this type of education for their citizens.