New job recruitment crypto scam surfaces in India

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Indian crypto investors are witnessing a new sort of cryptocurrency scam where bad actors are masquerading as job recruiters and duping their potential candidates, or in this case, victims.

Naved Alam, a 22-year-old resident of Pune, India, saw INR 2.5 lakhs (approximately $3000) worth of his crypto funds disappear after an encounter with his potential employers. 

“Sharing my story to raise awareness and prevent others from going through the same ordeal,” said Alam in an X post on March 31.

According to Alam’s post, an X user named ‘crankybugatti’ contacted him regarding a potential role as a product designer in his professional niche.

The employers presented the opportunity related to a web3 communication app dubbed ‘SocialSpectra.’ Following this, Alam was requested to move the conversation to a Discord channel, which, according to him, did not look anything out of the ordinary.

This is when the real scam transpired, as the fake recruiters said they were impressed with Alam’s work and would like to proceed with the HR interview. Alam got a call from an “HR” who forwarded him an onboarding link. According to Alam, the link was supposedly for spyware disguised as an international communication app.

The malware managed to drain Alam’s Phantom wallet and liquidated his staked assets on the Solana-based defi platform Kamino Finance. 

“In a matter of moments, I lost $3000 to scammers who prey on unsuspecting individuals looking for legitimate opportunities,” he wrote.

In a statement to a local media outlet, Alam said that he had contacted ‘crankybuggati’ and asked for the money back. The fraudster claimed that he was not a part of the scheme and also pledged to fix the problem by contacting his friend who supposedly works in cybercrime security. Alam said he doesn’t believe this.

The fraudster’s X account was suspended at the time of publication.

Interestingly, the scam transpired as regulators in India have been increasingly cracking down on illicit activities involving cryptocurrencies. Last month, India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a charge sheet against 299 entities under India’s anti-money laundering laws. The charge was in response to investors being duped by fraudsters offering promises of investments in crypto mining ventures.

Meanwhile, on the global front, South Korean authorities recently put an end to a similar scam that cost victims over $4.1 million. According to the allegations, the victims were promised massive profits on cryptocurrency investments. 


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