Express news service
CHENNAI: Multi-level marketing scams have taken on an online avatar. Instead of brochures and posters, crooks use messages, audio files, and videos to trick people. For example, there are apps that promise high returns on investment. When you register, you get a referral code to share with your friends. And once they’re signed up, you get paid. Then they in turn invest and get referral codes to share.
These apps claim that your investment is going towards a particular project, and the returns will be given to you. But that doesn’t always happen, says Srikanth Lakshmanan, a researcher who tracks digital payments and fraud. Scammers go to great lengths to make their businesses look legitimate. They pay the first tier of people who sign up or sign up, and through them, attract others. But once people join in and invest, the returns stop, Lakshmanan says.
One of these companies used the name “World Bank” to deceive people under the guise of angel financing. He created several groups on online messaging platforms and uploaded photos of people and brochures to convince victims. Once it turned out to be a scam, the World Bank had to issue a warning to warn people, he says.
Recently, a software engineer from Chennai invested in a similar app, received a referral code, and shared it with his friends, who then followed in his footsteps. He received feedback in his account on the app for each person who redeemed his code. But when he sought to withdraw the money, the app and the company stopped responding. In the end, he had to repay the people he directed to invest in the app.
There are many such apps available on online app stores, but most of those used by crooks can only be downloaded from the links they send, says a cybercrime official, adding that the only way to be safe from such frauds is to stay in the know. . This means that you have to be careful with the apps and links that crooks may ask you to use.
And if you happen to fall prey to such fraud, report it immediately, the officer said. “The sooner you report it to the police, the easier it is to freeze the culprit’s account.” Once an issue is reported, network providers, banks, and cybercrime officials work together to resolve the matter. “Even if the culprit is not apprehended, there is at least a chance of recovering the funds”, adds the officer.
(To report any type of cybercrime, dial 155260)