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Pune-Based Chartered Accountant Duped of Rs 3.4 Crore in Stock Trading Cyber Fraud

Last updated: 18 April 2024

A Pune-based chartered accountant was ensnared in a sophisticated cyber scam, suffering a devastating loss of Rs 3.4 crore to online fraudsters. This elaborate scheme, executed via a deceptive WhatsApp group posing as a reputable British financial institution, preyed upon the victim's trust by enticing them with the allure of substantial profits through 'block trade' and 'upper circuit trading.'

The harrowing ordeal commenced innocuously when the victim, a diligent professional in the city, stumbled upon a seemingly legitimate link to an app-based stock trading platform while browsing Facebook in February. Little did he know that this seemingly fortuitous encounter would ensnare him in a web of deceit and financial ruin.

Upon clicking the link, the victim was swiftly integrated into a WhatsApp group purporting affiliation with a prestigious London-based multinational asset management company. Within this digital enclave, he was bombarded with tantalizing messages flaunting extravagant profits reaped by group members, setting the stage for his entrapment.

Pune-Based Chartered Accountant Duped of Rs 3.4 Crore in Stock Trading Cyber Fraud

Subsequently, he was coerced into divulging sensitive financial and banking particulars and instructed to install a dubious application on his mobile device. With his guard gradually eroded by false promises and fictitious investment opportunities, the victim succumbed to the relentless persuasion, blindly executing over two dozen substantial payments ranging from Rs 50,000 to a staggering Rs 1 crore.

Shockingly, the victim resorted to procuring loans amounting to over Rs 2 crore from cooperative and private sector banks to fuel his escalating investments, oblivious to the impending financial catastrophe. Meanwhile, the deceitful facade of the phone-based application projected illusory returns, further ensnaring the victim in the perpetrators' intricate scheme.

The sinister plot unraveled when the victim attempted to withdraw a portion of his purported earnings, only to be confronted with an incredulous demand to donate a fraction of the amassed sum to charity. Sensing the treachery, he embarked on a meticulous investigation, uncovering the ruse and promptly alerting the cyber crime authorities.

Regrettably, this egregious incident epitomizes a pervasive trend of online share trading fraud afflicting the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad regions, prompting the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to issue a cautionary advisory on February 26. Fraudsters, adept at masquerading as SEBI-accredited entities, exploit social media platforms to propagate fraudulent trading schemes, leaving unsuspecting victims grappling with devastating financial losses.

As the cyber crime police station of Pune City launches a thorough investigation into this distressing case, it serves as a sobering reminder of the perils lurking within the digital realm, underscoring the imperative for heightened vigilance and skepticism in the face of lucrative yet dubious investment propositions.

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