"Exposed: The Dark Side of Online Scams - Morphed Celebrity Photos Used to Promote Fraudulent Apps"
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Odisha Crime Branch has taken significant action against multiple online Ponzi schemes, freezing millions of rupees across various bank accounts in India. In their crackdown, they discovered that scammers were resorting to unethical practices, including the use of morphed photographs of renowned celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, and Sachin Tendulkar. These fraudulent schemes and apps capitalized on the credibility and recognition of these personalities to deceive unsuspecting individuals. This article delves into the extent of the scams, the apps involved, the potential involvement of social media influencers, and the consequences of such deceptive practices.
1.Unveiling the Scale of the Scams:
The Odisha EOW’s investigation has revealed alarming numbers associated with the fraudulent activities. A total of Rs 75 lakh has been frozen across 14 bank accounts linked to the online Ponzi schemes. These accounts are estimated to have processed transactions totaling over Rs 1000 crore. Security agencies suspect that these networks are interconnected with other cyber and financial crimes, including illegal digital loan apps, courier scams, sextortion, work from home scams, YouTube-like scams, and rating scams. The magnitude of the scams indicates the far-reaching impact on unsuspecting victims.
2.Morphed Photos of Celebrities: A Tool for Deception:
To gain credibility and trust, the scammers resorted to using morphed photographs of prominent celebrities. By utilizing images of well-known personalities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Mukesh Ambani, Ratan Tata, and Sachin Tendulkar, the fraudsters aimed to mislead individuals and give an impression of legitimacy to their schemes. The manipulation of these photos is a deceptive tactic that preys on the trust people place in recognizable figures.
3.Fraudulent Apps and their Link to Bank Accounts:
The frozen bank accounts are associated with several apps that have gained popularity among unsuspecting users. These apps, including Dice, Quickwrummy, Fly Aviator, Weonlinepro Three, MVP trader, Ft11, UNO, ForexDana, Live 22 cash, Aviator X, City5, and Homer Alexander, collectively boast over 1.56 crore downloads. The scammers utilized these apps as vehicles for their fraudulent activities, exploiting the trust placed in digital platforms by innocent users seeking financial opportunities.
4.The Role of Social Media Influencers:
Disturbingly, it has come to light that social media influencers, including TV stars and minor celebrities, have played a part in promoting these deceptive apps and schemes. By associating themselves with these influencers, scammers leveraged their reach and influence to attract more victims. This unethical collaboration tarnishes the reputation of the influencers involved and highlights the need for stricter regulations and ethical practices within the influencer marketing space.
5.Law Enforcement’s Crackdown and Implications:
Recent actions by law enforcement agencies have made significant strides in curbing these fraudulent activities. One such example is the crackdown on the app called ‘Join trade- Financial growth,‘ which used morphed pictures of Bollywood actors Akshay Kumar and Manish Paul for promotional purposes. By dismantling these operations and freezing associated bank accounts, authorities aim to disrupt the scammers’ activities and prevent further victimization.
The use of morphed celebrity photos to promote fraudulent apps is a distressing development in the realm of online scams. The actions taken by the Odisha EOW and other law enforcement agencies shed light on the scale of these deceptive practices and their impact on unsuspecting individuals. The involvement of social media influencers further exacerbates the issue, as it compromises the trust placed in influential figures. It is essential for regulators, platforms, and society as a whole to work together to combat these scams, ensure stricter oversight of digital platforms, and educate users about online safety and security. By raising awareness about such deceptive practices, we can empower individuals to be more vigilant and protect themselves from falling victim to these fraudulent schemes.