Govt blocks 100 websites duping people via task-based job offers
These websites facilitated task based/organised illegal investment-related economic crimes, which were learnt to being operated by overseas actors
New Delhi: The Centre has blocked 100 websites involved in organised investment or task-based economic frauds and laundering the proceeds of crime out of India, the Union home ministry said on Wednesday.
The websites have been blocked by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) 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.
These websites, the ministry said, facilitated task based/organised illegal investment-related economic crimes, which were learnt to being operated by overseas actors. The overseas actors were allegedly using digital advertisement, chat messengers and mule/rented accounts for the same.
“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.
Several complaints had been received through the 1930 helpline 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 key words 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 maps 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 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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