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From Facebook Ad to Financial Disaster: The Rs 55.44 Lakh Scam That Fooled a Mumbai Professional



How Cybercriminals Use Celebrity Faces to Steal Your Money

MUMBAI: A data management professional from Mira Road, Navi Mumbai, has become the unfortunate victim of a cleverly designed online scam. The 41-year-old woman lost a staggering Rs 55.44 lakh after being lured into investing in a fake stock trading application by cybercriminals posing as market experts.

Promises of Guaranteed Profits and Fake Expertise

The scammers used a two-pronged approach. First, they targeted the victim through a Facebook advertisement promoting an academy that promised stock trading tips and a guaranteed 500% profit. Intrigued, the woman clicked on the training link, which led her to a questionnaire about basic share trading knowledge. After submitting her answers, she was unwittingly added to a WhatsApp group teeming with supposed stock market experts offering guidance and trading tips. To further legitimize the scheme, the group even included members who shared their experiences of significant profits, creating a facade of success.

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Initial Investment and Illusory Gains

After a month of observing the group’s activities, the victim decided to test the waters with a small initial investment of Rs 50,000. To her surprise, she saw a scheinbar profit (apparent profit) of Rs 5,000 within two days. This seemingly successful transaction instilled a false sense of confidence, prompting her to invest a significantly larger sum – a total of Rs 55.44 lakh spread across ten transactions to specified bank accounts within a short period (between March 6 and May 1).

The Trap Tightens: Blocked Withdrawals and Extortion Attempts

However, when the victim attempted to withdraw her funds, which now appeared as a profit exceeding Rs 4 crore in her online account, she was met with a roadblock. The platform wouldn’t allow any withdrawals. When she questioned the group administrator about this discrepancy, they demanded an additional Rs 5 lakh for management fees and income tax to facilitate the withdrawal. This unreasonable request served as a red flag, finally prompting the victim to realize she had been scammed.

Justice Served: Joining Forces to Fight Cybercrime

The victim didn’t hesitate to take action. She approached the Kashimira police station and discovered that two other individuals had also fallen prey to the same scam, collectively losing Rs 18.91 lakh and Rs 1.50 lakh respectively. Based on their similar experiences, a joint FIR (First Information Report) under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act was filed against the cybercriminals on Saturday.

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Police Warn Public: Stay Vigilant Against Investment Scams

The Mira Road police station (MBVV police) has issued a strong advisory urging citizens to be cautious of investment scams. They recommend people avoid clicking on suspicious links, responding to WhatsApp calls or messages from unknown numbers, and investing in unregulated platforms. If you suspect a cybercrime, you can directly approach your local police station, lodge a complaint on the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal (, or call the cybercrime helpline at 1930.

This case is a reminder to exercise extreme caution when encountering online investment opportunities. Always verify the legitimacy of platforms and investment schemes before committing any funds. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be a victim – be informed and invest wisely.

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