Man loses ₹20 lakh in new scam over Google Maps: Here’s all details you need to know

A resident of Greater Noida has become a victim of a work-from-home scam involving rating hotels on Google Maps. Sandeep Kumar, residing in the Chi-1 sector, lost Rs. 20.54 lakh in January this year, according to PTI reports.

An FIR was filed at the Cyber Crime police station in Noida Sector 36 against an unidentified individual earlier this week. The FIR has been registered under sections 420 (cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, and provisions of the Information Technology Act, according to local police.

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Details of the Fraud

Kumar reported to the police that he received a WhatsApp message offering a work-from-home job to rate hotels on Google Maps for monetary rewards. Responding to the message, Kumar was added to a Telegram group with about 100 members. He began performing the rating tasks, which soon included investment activities.

“I started rating the hotels and other tasks. Then, there were some investment tasks where I initially invested Rs. 50,000 but couldn’t withdraw the money from the website,” Kumar said. When he attempted to withdraw the money, he was asked to pay an additional Rs. 5 lakh as tax. Eventually, he ended up investing Rs. 20,54,464.

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“They asked me to pay 5 lakh more as tax to their account. That is when I realised I had been a victim of financial fraud. I am unable to withdraw my invested amount of approximately 20,54,464,” Kumar stated in his police complaint.

Death Threats Allegation

Kumar alleged that he has been receiving death threats from the fraudsters via Telegram and phone calls. “I am getting death threats from these people on Telegram and calls to defreeze the accounts,” he said.

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Follow This Precautionary Measures To Safeguard Yourself From Online Scams

1. Use Trusted Apps: Install reliable apps like “Fraud Alert” by CERT-In, “mSafe” by NCSAP, and Google’s “Anti-Phishing App” for real-time alerts and protection against phishing attacks.

2. Limit Personal Information: Be cautious when sharing personal details online. Avoid disclosing sensitive data like phone numbers, email addresses, and bank account information to unfamiliar sources.

3. Question Unsolicited Requests: Be sceptical of emails and messages requesting personal data, as scammers often use such tactics to steal sensitive information.

4. Maintain Software Updates: Regularly update your software to benefit from security patches that protect against malware and other threats.

5. Verify Claims: Disregard offers of free gifts from unknown individuals and avoid making online payments without proper verification of the source.