Man loses ₹20 lakh in new Google Maps scam: Here are all the details you need to know

A resident of Greater Noida became a victim of a work-from-home scam involving hotel ratings on Google Maps. Sandeep Kumar, residing in Chi-1 area, lost Rs. 20.54 lakh in January this year, according to a PTI report.

An FIR was filed at the cyber crime police station in Noida Sector 36 against an unknown individual earlier this week. According to local police, the FIR was registered under sections 420 (cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and provisions of the Information Technology Act.

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Details of the scam

Kumar told the police that he received a WhatsApp message offering to work from home to rate hotels on Google Maps for a monetary reward. Replying to the message, Kumar was added to the Telegram group with around 100 members. He began performing ranking duties, which soon included investing activities.

“I started rating hotels and other tasks,” Kumar said. Then there were some investment tasks where I initially invested Rs 50,000 but could not withdraw money from the website.” When he tried to withdraw the money, he was asked to pay an additional Rs. 5 lakh tax. Finally, he invested Rs. 20,54,464.

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“They asked me to pay $5 lakh extra tax in their account. That’s when I realized I was the victim of a financial scam. I can’t withdraw my investment amount of approx $20,54,464,” Kumar stated in his police complaint.

Alleged death threat

Kumar alleged that he received death threats from scammers through Telegram and phone calls. “I received death threats from these people on Telegram and calls to freeze accounts,” he said.

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Follow these precautions to protect yourself from online scams

1. Use Trusted Apps: Install trusted apps like CERT-In’s “Fraud Alert”, NCSAP’s “mSafe” and Google’s “Anti-Fraud App” for warnings and protection. Real-time protection against phishing attacks.

2. Limit personal information: Be cautious when sharing personal information online. Avoid revealing sensitive data such as phone numbers, email addresses, and bank account information to unfamiliar sources.

3. Ask Unsolicited Questions: Be cautious of emails and messages asking for personal data, as scammers often use such tactics to steal sensitive information.

4. Keep your software up to date: Regularly update your software to benefit from security patches that protect against malware and other threats.

5. Verify Claims: Ignore free gift offers from unknown individuals and avoid making online payments without verifying the correct source.


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