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Hyd: Police alerts on surge in fake stock market trading frauds

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Hyderabad: In recent times, there has been a significant uptick in cybercrimes associated with fraudulent stock market trading applications and fake trading advisories, resulting in substantial financial losses for victims.

In a statement here on Wednesday, AV Ranganath, Joint Commissioner of Police,Crimes & SIT, Hyderabad, said fraudsters employ various online social media platforms such as Telegram, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook to approach victims through advertisements offering free stock market tips and advice.

To gain the victim’s trust, they showcase fake screenshots of profits earned by other clients. Initially, fraudsters transfer money to the victim’s bank account.

Subsequently, they pressure victims to join premium or VIP groups, claiming they share exclusive stock market tips for higher profits. While fake profits are displayed on the website’s dashboard, attempting to withdraw these profits reveals a blocked withdrawal option. Fraudsters then coerce victims to transfer more money, citing different taxes and penalties to unblock their accounts.

In numerous cases, professionals such as working individuals, chartered accountants, and advocates have fallen prey to these scams. An advocate, responding to a Facebook advertisement, invested Rs 85 lakh in a fake trading website and became a victim.

An IT employee, lured by a WhatsApp group’s conversations and displayed profits, invested and lost Rs 55 lakhs. Additionally, a chartered accountant was deceived by fraudsters using a fake trading website, resulting in a loss of Rs 91 lakh.

Precautions to be taken:

Only trade stocks through applications registered with SEBI.

Transfer funds through the stockbroker’s application, avoiding transfers to individual bank accounts.

Exercise caution against dubious returns promised by fraudsters.

Verify applications before downloading, using official sources like the Google Play Store or their respective websites.

Never share Demat account credentials with unknown individuals.

Be skeptical of fake conversations in unfamiliar groups and avoid blind investments, the statement added.

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