Gr Noida man duped of ₹20.54 lakh in 'work-from-home hotel rating' scam

Greater Noida resident has allegedly fallen victim to a cyber fraud that cost him 20.54 lakh after he was lured into the scam through a text message offering a work-from-home job, which involved rating hotels on Google Maps for monetary rewards.

The police said they have registered an FIR against an unidentified accused and launched investigation into the case, which took place in January this year but reported to them only on Monday.

In his complaint to the police, Sandeep Kumar, who lives in Chi-1 sector of Greater Noida, said, “I received the text on his WhatsApp number that I can do a work-from-home job in which I need to rate hotels on Google Maps and I will receive money in return as rewards.”

He was then added to a Telegram group with about 100 members, where he started performing the rating tasks. As he continued, the tasks soon included investment activities, according to the FIR.

“I started rating the hotels etc. With these tasks, there were some investment tasks too where I invested 50,000 first, but I couldn’t withdraw the money from the website,” Kumar said, adding that when attempted to withdraw his money, he was asked to pay an additional 5 lakh as tax.

Realising he had been defrauded, Kumar found himself unable to access the 20,54,464 he had invested, he claimed.

“They asked me to pay 5 lakh more as tax to their account, where I got to know that I have been a victim of financial fraud. I am not able to withdraw my approximately 20,54,464 invested money,” Kumar stated.

In addition to the financial loss, Kumar alleged he has been receiving “death threats” from the fraudsters via Telegram and phone calls.

“I am getting death threats from these people on Telegram as well as on calls to defreeze the accounts,” he added.

A police official said an FIR was registered at the Cyber Crime police station in Noida Sector 36 and the matter is under investigation.

“The FIR has been registered under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation), and provisions of the Information Technology Act,” the local police official added.

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