With just 10 detectives under his leadership and in about three weeks’ time, Senior Superintendent of Police of Uttar Pradesh’s Special Task Force Amit Pathak cracked an online digital racket that swindled 600,000 people and is now worth Rs 3,700 crore and counting.
Call it ‘digital marketing’, or ‘get-paid-for-likes’ scam, the fact is high-heeled, well-educated scammers, suave in their use of technology, social media and a solid grip on the greed factor of the masses that works behind the success of such schemes, a computer scientist from NOIDA (North Okhla Industrial Development Authority), UP, which is also within kissing distance of the national capital, hoodwinked 600,000 people with the carrot that they can make 32 per cent on their initial investment every month, month after month.
Consider the simple math and you will understand how greed preys upon people’s psyche:
Those investing Rs 57,500 in this scheme for a month were promised a return of Rs 625 every day, that is, 1.08 per cent daily.
Multiply this daily return (Rs 625) by 30 (days of a month), divide it by the original investment (Rs 57,500) and multiply the answer by 100: The return is a mindboggling 32 per cent per month.
Mittal, 26, who is known for his flashy lifestyle — he had invited Bollywood stars Sunny Leone and Amisha Patel for his birthday on November 29, 2016 at his Delhi bungalow — had devised his schemes in a shrewd manner that allowed people, who could not afford to invest a huge amount, to invest in different slabs beginning with Rs 5,750, Rs 11,500, Rs 28,750, and get proportionate returns.
Apart from the monthly returns, investors were free to take away their initial corpus at the end of the year.
Aren’t you already planning your next vacation in the Maldives? That’s how greed overwhelms common sense!
This is the greed factor that not just Anubhav Mittal, but many others before him, have used successfully to swindle money by promising the moon.
However, Mittal’s luck ran short, when Amit Pathak and his 10-member team of detectives began following up on more than 4,500 emails to the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force’s email ID complaining about the wrongdoing by various companies floated by Mittal, from across India, and a full-blown, multi-billion crore scam began to manifest itself before the investigators.
The going was not very easy though as Mittal, a BTech in computer science, had made every attempt to obliterate his online footprint by hiding behind a web of companies that went by the name of 3W Digital Private Limited office, Ablaze Info Solutions Private Limited, or kept changing URLs from socialtrade.biz and later to frenzzup.com.