In the recent case of cyber fraud, a 33-year-old Pune-based interior designer, who owns an interior designing firm, was duped of ₹36.5 lakh within a span of 12 days.
The scam unfolded when she received a message from an international number claiming to represent a company offering high-paying part-time jobs. Initially, she was tasked with following social media accounts, and for each completed task, she received small amounts.
However, the scammers gradually introduced larger "merchant tasks," convincing her to make substantial payments. The victim realized the fraud after significant financial losses and reported the incident to the Pune City Police's cyber crime department. The investigation is ongoing under the supervision of Senior Inspector Minal Patil.
What is task fraud?
In task fraud schemes, individuals are initially approached with messages promising monetary compensation for simple online tasks, such as liking videos or providing reviews for businesses. To build trust, victims are paid nominal amounts, ranging from Rs 100 per like to Rs 500 per review.
Subsequently, the scammers inform victims that they have been selected for more lucrative "prepaid tasks" but must pay a fee to participate. As an example, if a victim pays Rs 1000 for a prepaid task, they receive Rs 1500 in return. The fraudsters gradually escalate the fees, enticing victims with the promise of higher returns. However, when the anticipated returns fail to materialise, and victims realise the deception, the fraudsters disappear.