In a real-life depiction of a popular scene in Bollywood super hit comedy film 'Phir Hera Pheri', wherein a chit fund company allured several small investors with promises of doubling their money only in 21 days, over 200 people In Odisha's Capital city landed in the net of scammers with similar promises before ending up losing over Rs 2 crore in the process.
As per reports, sometime back, several people received a website link, "oobicycle.com". The self-styled online investment company allured them in making investments with tempting offers and schemes. While in one scheme, the fraud company promised to double the investment amount in 50 days with the minimum amount capped at Rs 500, in another scheme it claimed to double Rs 5000 in only 70 days. Similarly, another tempting scheme included multiplying Rs 20, 000 five times in 5 days.
The company offered schemes ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1 lakh as investment amount.
"The company credited the promised return when the investment amount was smaller. Even, I made higher investments out of greed. But, the company suddenly stopped crediting to my account from December 24," said Sunil Maharana, a victim.
"I had invested a total of around Rs 54, 000 in small schemes and had received Rs 90, 000. But, with the new scheme, I had invested around Rs 45, 000 and lost it," added Maharana.
Another victim, Ashok Sahoo said, "The company had released several offers on December 24. The company's website link was forwarded by one of my colleagues and he had received the same from someone. We want recovery of the funds invested."
A woman named Helen, believed to be located overseas, was the admin of the entire financial transactions carried out during the investment proposal. As alleged by the victims, Helen was controlling the online fraud network and the transactions by creating several WhatsApp groups.
"Currently, we are clueless if it is a case of online chit fund fraud or something else. We can ascertain things after investigation," said Rashmita Jena, Inspector-In-Charge (IIC), Cyber Police Station, Bhubaneswar.
The police official also stated, "Considering the statements of the victims, we have found that they were prompted to download a mobile app and deposit some funds in the app's wallet. The company promised of doubling their investments and also the victims initially were benefited. But later, the app was closed."
Meanwhile, Cyber Experts have urged to avoid the web links related to any financial transactions as people might land in trouble.
"Clicking on any random web link will provide access of the users' bank account details along with transaction and contact details to the fraudsters. This might land people in serious trouble," said Lingaraj Sethi, a cyber expert.
Cyber fraudsters are on the prowl as Odisha is witnessing a spike in online crimes. Fraudsters are alluring people with several tempting schemes and are looting their savings. Several such cases have come to the fore in recent times posing a challenge to the Cyber Police.