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Amid a surge in “Pig Butchering” aka “romance” scam, online brokerage firm Zerodha founder and CEO Nithin Kamath has raised apprehensions about the growing number of people in Indian becoming its victims.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Kamath said: “The scale of pig butchering scams in India runs into tens of thousands of crores. It is scary how many people fall for fake job offer scams, scammy high-return investment schemes and crypto investments, etc.
“As the name implies, a pig butchering scam involves fattening the victim before butchering. Scammers gain the trust of users by using fake profiles. They use the pretence of love and friendship to gain the trust of users and then induce them to send money for jobs and high-return investments and steal the money. These scams are global, and their scope is staggering.
“What makes these scams even more cruel is that the person scamming could also be a victim of another type of scam. Many fall into the trap of international job offers from scammy companies. Once abroad, they are held captive and forced to scam Indians by building trust using social media platforms, typically using fake profiles of the opposite sex. Check out the link in the comments of a harrowing story of an Indian who was lured by an international job offer. The person was then moved to Myanmar and forced to commit pig butchering scams on Indians,” he posted.
“It is essential to talk about this frequently with as many people as possible, given the scale of the problem. Everyone around us is a potential victim, regardless of whether they are educated or not. Quick money and a job abroad is a honeypot that gets many Indians to act instinctively. The Govt. through its cybercrime division, is trying to fight & improve India’s response for which they’re hiring. You can check out @Cyberdost”.
Recently, a Delhi-based journalist fell prey to a scam orchestrated by a woman he met on the Bumble dating app. The deceptive encounter led him to an establishment called “The Race Lounge and Bar” in west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden, where he allegedly ended up footing a bill of around Rs 15,000 for subpar drinks and food.
In his account posted on social media platform X, Archit Gupta detailed the incident. He recounted how a woman named Divya Sharma (an alias, as later identified by Truecaller as Aifya) initiated contact on Bumble, and what the encounter led to.
“I thought, let’s take a chance on Bumble and see if there is a genuine person to date. A girl named Divya Sharma (fake name) approached me and asked me to meet her at Rajouri Garden. She convinced me that she was looking for something meaningful.
“She took me to a bar, The Race Lounge and Bar. Despite not being convinced of the place, Aifya (her real name, as per Truecaller) insisted that I sit there. She ordered some drinks for herself. I don’t drink, so I just ordered a Red Bull. The bill for a hookah, 2-3 glasses of wine, 1 vodka shot, chicken tikka, and a water bottle was Rs 15,886,” he further stated.
“I was shocked after seeing the bill. I paid the bill. They tapped my card four times as there was some issue with their machine. Before leaving the place, I went to the washroom, and upon returning, I realised that the bill I left on the table was not there. She insisted on leaving the place, saying that her brother is coming to pick her up. When I came home, I realised that this is a scam.
“I checked, and she had just disappeared and was not picking up my calls. Then I searched and found a story on a media outlet, and I got to know about how these clubs and bars are hiring girls and doing this fraud. This is not just about money; this is emotional and mental abuse for a person who thinks that the person sitting in front of him is genuine. I investigated the whole thing and found some reviews on the Google page of that lounge,” he further wrote.
“This post is not about how I lost my money; this is about these people fooling many boys, and this is not just a fraud; this is emotional harassment. They don’t have any fear; they hired bouncers to force people to pay the unfair bill. This whole racket is big, and they are operating in many cafes and clubs in the Rajouri Garden Area,” Gupta wrote
In September, Delhi Police had arrested a 25-year-old African national who allegedly cheated people by making fake profiles of NRIs of US and UK citizens working as doctors and pilots. The accused was identified as Big Jos a.k.a Joseph of Ghana, presently living at Chander Vihar. He had duped several people through Instagram and whatsApp on pretext of sending them expensive gifts, for which an accomplice called them up and asked them to pay up some money in lieu of customs duty.