IIT Kanpur Designing Tool to Assist UP Police Crack Crypto Scams Amid Rising Cases in India

With the rise of the crypto culture in India, the number of scams plaguing the sector have also seen an escalation in recent times. In a bid to help police officials stay ahead of crypto scammers, the Kanpur campus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) has decided to step in. A team from IIT-K is developing a tool to analyse crypto transactions to check their authenticity. This tool would be able to help UP police check and identify fraudulent crypto transactions.

The name of this tool is ‘HOP’ and it is expected to be ready for use in the next three months.

“The tool is cheaper than any foreign equipment. By September, our tool will be ready to serve the UP police and help in investigations in cases of cryptocurrency fraud,” Sandeep Shukla, Professor, IIT-K was quoted as saying.

Detailed information about HOP remains awaited for now, but its conceptulisation and introduction of this tool is indicative of India’s attention strengthening around monitoring the crypto sector.

In recent times, crypto fraud in India have risen around the country. Unsuspecting members of the crypto community are often targeted via social media.

In 2021 alone, fake crypto websites registered 9.6 million visits from India, a report by Chainalysis had claimed in January.

Many of these websites are created to unlawfully collect the personal information of the visitors without their consent or knowledge. Names, emails, and phone numbers among other sensitive details of potential crypto investors are often collected by these malicious websites, exposing them to the risks of being scammed again.

In December last year, at least 900 people were identified to have been defrauded out of over $161 million (roughly Rs. 1,200 crore) in Kerala owing to a crypto scam. Victims were reportedly lured into investing in an “initial coin offering”.

India’s Enforcement Directorate (ED) is currently investigating a mega crypto scam that reportedly amounted to Rs. 2,000 crore. The men under inquiry include cybercrime expert Pankaj Ghode and former police officer Ravindra Patil who have been arrested and are being investigated on charges of manipulating evidences and stealing a total of 1,137 Bitcoins while working on the original crypto scam case.

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