Govt blocks 100 websites involved in organized job scams
The Ministry of Home Affairs has blocked 100 websites that were involved in organised crimes such as job scams and illegal investments. These proceeds were laundered out of India using card networks, cryptocurrency, among other routes. The Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre had last week identified and recommended over 100 websites involved in organised investment / task-based part-time job frauds.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has blocked the websites on the recommendation of the National Cybercrime Threat Analysis Unit (NCTAU) under the ministry of home affairs (MHA).
“NCTAU had last week identified and recommended over 100 websites involved in organized investment/task based - part time job frauds. MeitY, invoking its powers under the information technology act, 2000, has blocked these websites,” MHA said in a statement. According to the ministry, these websites enabled task based/organised illegal investment-related economic crimes and these were operated by overseas actors. They were allegedly using digital advertisement, chat messengers and mule/rented accounts for the crimes.
“It was also learnt that proceeds from the large-scale economic frauds were seen to be laundered out of India using card network, crypto currency, overseas ATM withdrawals and international fintech companies,” the ministry said.
Many complaints were received via the helpline 1930 and NCRP (National Cybercrime Reporting Portal) regarding these frauds. The ministry said that “these offences were posing significant threats to the citizens and also involved data security concerns.”
The frauds, typically, are initiated through targetted digital advertisements on platforms like Google and Meta using keywords like “Ghar baithe job (Jobs while sitting at home)”, “Ghar baithe kamai kaise karen (how to earn money while sitting at home)” in multiple languages from overseas advertisers. Targets are mostly retired employees, women and unemployed youth looking for part time jobs.
Once a user clicks on the advertisement, an agent using WhatsApp/Telegram starts talking with the potential victim, who convinces him or her to perform some tasks like ‘video likes’ and subscribe and map rating among other seemingly easy work. When the task is completed, the victim is given a commission initially and is asked to invest more to get more returns against the work given. “After gaining confidence, when the victim deposits a larger sum, deposits are frozen and thus the victim is duped,” the statement said.
A cyber safe India, according to the statement, is “ is one of the top priorities of the MHA.
“Union home minister Amit Shah is committed to curbing cybercrime and protecting people from cyber threat actors. Citizens are also advised to promptly report phone numbers and social media handles used by such fraudsters to the NCRP www.cybercrime.gov.in”, it said.
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