Government takes action against 100 overseas-operated websites
According to an official statement, these websites were being operated by overseas actors and targets were mostly retired employees, women and unemployed youth looking for part time jobs.
The Indian government, in a decisive move, has blocked 100 websites managed by foreign entities for their suspected involvement in organized investment and part-time job frauds. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) took this step following recommendations from the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
The National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (NCTAU) of I4C identified these websites as facilitators of organized investment and task-based part-time job frauds. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, utilizing its authority under the Information Technology Act, 2000, executed the website blocks.
According to a statement from the MHA, these websites, operated by overseas actors, employed digital advertisements, chat messengers, and mule or rented accounts to engage in task-based and organized illegal investment-related economic crimes.
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The MHA revealed that proceeds from these economic frauds were being laundered out of India using card networks, cryptocurrency, overseas ATM withdrawals, and international Fintech companies. Numerous complaints were received through the 1930 helpline and NCRP, indicating the offenses' severity and posing significant threats to citizens, along with data security concerns.
Typically, these frauds target retired employees, women, and unemployed youth seeking part-time jobs. The perpetrators launch targeted digital advertisements on platforms like Google and Meta using keywords like "Ghar baithe job" and "Ghar baithe kamayi kaise karen" in multiple languages from overseas advertisers.
Upon clicking the advertisement, victims are approached through WhatsApp and Telegram by agents who convince them to perform tasks such as video likes, subscriptions, and map ratings. Subsequently, victims are lured into investing more money for higher returns. However, after depositing a significant sum, their deposits are frozen, resulting in financial duping.
Fraudulent activities of this nature typically follow these steps:
Initiate targeted digital advertising campaigns on platforms such as Google and Meta, employing keywords like "Ghar baithe job" and "Ghar baidhe kamai kaise karen" in multiple languages. These ads primarily target retired individuals, women, and unemployed youth seeking part-time employment.
Once an individual clicks on the advertisement, an agent initiates a conversation using WhatsApp or Telegram. The agent persuades the potential victim to complete various tasks, such as video likes, subscriptions, and maps ratings.
After the victim completes the initial tasks, they receive a commission and are encouraged to invest more for higher returns on subsequent tasks.
Once the victim gains confidence and deposits a larger sum, the deposits are frozen, leading to financial loss and deception.
Precautionary measures to consider:
Conduct thorough research before investing in online schemes promising excessively high commissions, especially those promoted over the internet.
Exercise caution when approached by unknown individuals on WhatsApp or Telegram, and avoid financial transactions without proper verification.
Verify the recipient's name in the UPI app. If the receiver is an unfamiliar person, it could be a mule account, indicating a potential fraudulent scheme. Similarly, scrutinize the source of the initial commission received.
Refrain from engaging in transactions with unknown accounts, as these may be linked to money laundering, terrorism financing, and could result in account blockage by law enforcement agencies, leading to legal consequences.
(With input from agencies)