A Special Task Force (STF) of Uttar Pradesh police cracked an alleged online scam worth over Rs 3,700 crore. Around 6.5 lakh people were duped on the pretext of receiving money for clicking on web pages.
The force has arrested three persons and has sealed the bank accounts of the company. The name of the company is Ablaze Info Solutions Limited, and it was located in Noida Sector 63 which had a total balance of Rs 500 crore.
“The owner of the company is Abhinav Mittal and its Chief Operations Officer Sridhar Prasad and Technical Head Mahesh Daya. Sridhar is an MBA degree holder, and Mittal has a B.tech Degree,” said Amit Pathak, Special Task Force, as reported by The Hindu. He also added that the company has accounts in many banks. The bank employees from some banks are also under scanner. An action will be soon initiated against those officials.
The victims of the scam said that the owner portrayed himself as the owner of Facebook “Mark Zuckerberg” of the country. He had also launched a social networking site to lure the customers. Few victims also said that the company claimed to start its own private bank to deal with people as the size of the transactions were going rapidly.
‘Earn per click’ scheme
The company so far had done a business of Rs 3,700 crore. Mr Pathak stated that the force had written a letter to the concerned authorities to stop transaction of Rs 524 crore of the company. The team will continue the probe for another week, but the information of investigation already reached to the top level of the enterprise, and they had begun to transfer money to other different accounts.
The company made Rs 1 lakh in 2011 and between 2012 and 2016, the business grew from 1.5 lakh Rs to 3,700 crore rupees. The enterprise has duped around 6.5 lakh people with ‘earn Rs 5 per click’ scheme.
A web portal ‘socialtrade.biz’ was started when an investor had to pay an amount, between Rs 5,750 and Rs 57,500 to the accounts of the company to become a member. The members were then promised Rs 5 per click on links provided by the organisation.
One company, many names
The owners of the fraud company regularly changed their business’s name to evade arrest. The company changed its name to socialtrade.biz tofreehub.com to intmaart.com to frenzzup.co, to 3W.com.
The police had also received a complaint against them for cheating people under a Ponzi scheme.
(A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator promises and pays initial investors short-term returns which are higher or inconsistent compared to other investment options available in the market.)
The accused also used the money to buy luxury cars and properties. They would party in five-star hotels in the name of promotional activities. They had planned to visit Australia with few important customers who would bring huge businesses.
Even the people from educated background invested their hard-earned money in the fraud company. The victims included many doctors, IT professionals. The company would also ask the customers to transfer the funds online, and it started paying some amount back to them.
The company stopped payments to the customers, but when they observed that returning the money was helping them lure more people, they started paying back some amount to them.
As per one of the victims, the company would not deal in cash, so he confidently invested his money. The company also had good plans, but the actions taken by police came as a shocker to him.
The fraud plan
The company had asked people to buy their package. After subscribing to their packages, the people would get online ad links in their email. The company would offer handsome money to the customers. The company also claimed that they outsource work of publicity of products from different companies and it would distribute the work and profit to its clients. The company would offer incentives to the existing customers.
The Logical Indian Take
The scammers take full advantage of individuals’ innocence and their desperation to earn money. It is important to check the details of the organisation thoroughly before investing. It is better to invest in other areas like fixed deposits in banks than look for such schemes.