How a Pune techie lost over Rs 20 lakh after liking social media posts – Times of India

The year 2023 may have ended, but the digital shadows of cyber fraud linger on. A Pune techie named Avinash Krishnanakutti Kunnubaram (40) found himself caught in a web of online deceit that cost him a staggering Rs 20.32 lakh.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, it all began in March 2023, amidst the anxieties of job uncertainty and layoffs. A text message from an unknown number presented Avinash with a tempting offer: earn extra income by completing simple online tasks.The promise of easy money, especially in such uncertain times, proved too alluring, and Avinash found himself accepting the offer.
How these cybercriminals work
Initially, the tasks were harmless enough – liking social media posts (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and other platforms), with a small payout for each click. This built trust, creating the illusion of a legitimate opportunity. But the scammers soon unveiled the second act of his play. They enticed Avinash with a “paid task group,” a supposedly lucrative upgrade promising even greater returns.
Blinded by the potential gains, Avinash willingly entered the paid group, transferring money in increments throughout the year. By December 2023, the total sum had reached a staggering Rs 20.32 lakh. It was then, with a sickening realization, that Avinash understood he had been duped.
On January 3, 2024, Avinash went to the Wakad police station to report the crime. A formal complaint was lodged against the unidentified scammer.
Avinash’s story, unfortunately, is not unique. Several similar cases have surfaced in the last many months where people have lost lakhs of money to such online fraud. Victims are lured by the promise of quick gains, invest their hard-earned money, only to find themselves trapped in a digital quicksand. Withdrawal becomes an illusion, replaced by demands for more money or the threat of losing it all.
These scams are called task-based scams. The fraudsters ask ther victim to like social media posts, YouTube videos or like or write certain online reviews. Most of these crimes start on WhatsApp or Telegram with a simple greetings message. In the past few months, as more and more cases have come to light, these scammers have become more persistent and the numbers these messages come from are also no longer only international.

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