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A group of six individuals in New Delhi, India, have been arrested by the police for robbing people that they had convinced were buying Bitcoin with actual cash.
Just when you think it’s safe to buy Bitcoin and other digital currencies, you hear horror stories about being robbed in some sort of online scam or Ponzi scheme. The decentralized nature of cryptocurrency means that those looking to get involved in it must do their due diligence and always be aware of potential risks. However, such situations are a far cry from what some people in New Delhi, India, experienced as they were robbed while attempting to buy Bitcoin from some unscrupulous people.
What Can Go Wrong Buying Bitcoin with Cash from Strangers?
Police in New Delhi, India, arrested a gang of six individuals who had targeted people interested in buying Bitcoin. The leader of the group is Aditya Rajput, who is a law graduate from Dehradun. Overall, police recovered numerous SIM cards, eight mobile phones, jewelry, and lakhs of rupees in cash (lakhs are the equivalent of one hundred thousand rupees). A spokesman for the New Delhi police described how the crimes would go down thusly:
This module used to contact interested party through phone calls and Facebook messages and convinced the buyers to deal in cash for buying the Bitcoin. Once, they convinced the buyer and called them to the designated place, the other gang members would came into action…and…would then rob the victim.
So far, the police have identified seven victims of this Bitcoin robbery scam.
Bitcoin Rising in India
It’s understandable for individuals in India to be interested in Bitcoin. The economy was thrown into some turmoil last year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to ban the two largest banknotes in the country to fight terrorism, corruption, and tax evaders. This move had a huge impact upon everyday life for Indians as the amount of money in circulation was drastically curtailed and the amount available to be withdrawn from ATMs was severely cut as well. This led to a noticeable increase in the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Bollywood has endorsed digital currencies, and the government is now actually considering issuing an official Indian cryptocurrency of its own.
That being said, it does seem remarkably foolish to physically meet someone to trade cash for some Bitcoin. The person making the criminal complaint first wanted to purchase Bitcoin through a website but was lured to a meeting in a mall (from where he was then kidnapped) where he was supposed to be able to buy Bitcoin at the rate of roughly $1,100 USD per Bitcoin. One would say that getting a Bitcoin for a percentage of the current market rate would be a red flag. Having to meet someone in person while carrying at least a thousand dollars in cash to undertake the transaction should have thrown up some more red flags. However, greed often wins out, but at least those robbed did not suffer more dire consequences.
What do you think about the robberies of potential Bitcoin buyers in New Delhi, India? Would you meet with someone with a lot of cash under such circumstances? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Flickr, and Bitcoinist archives.