Over 100 websites blocked for facilitating organised illegal investments

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Over 100 websites blocked for facilitating organised illegal investments
Representational imageCanva
The Centre has blocked over 100 websites involved in facilitating organised illegal investments related to economic crimes and task-based part-time job frauds. 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.
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The Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C), a wing of the Union Home Ministry, through its vertical National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (NCTAU) had last week identified and recommended that these websites be blocked.

Following this, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), invoking its power under the Information Technology Act, 2000, has blocked these websites, the statement said.

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These websites, which facilitated task-based organised illegal investment related to economic crimes, were learnt to be operated by overseas actors and were using digital advertisement, chat messengers and mule and rented accounts.

The 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 statement said.

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The I4C is an initiative of the Home Ministry to deal with cyber crimes in the country in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.

Citizens have been advised to promptly report phone numbers and social media handles used by such fraudsters to the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal (NCRP), the statement said.

It said several complaints have been received through 1930 helpline and the NCRP and these offences were posing significant threat to the citizens and also involved data security concerns.

These frauds, typically, involve a number of steps that include targeted digital advertisements launched on platforms like Google and Meta using key words like "Ghar baithe job" (Do jobs sitting at home), "Ghar baithe kamai kaise karen" (How to earn by sitting at home) etc. in multiple languages from overseas advertisers.

Upon clicking the advertisement, an agent using WhatsApp or Telegram starts conversation with the potential victim, who convinces him or her to perform some tasks like video likes and subscribe, maps rating, etc.

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Upon completion of task, the victim is given some commission, initially and is asked to invest more to get more returns against given task.

After gaining confidence, when victim deposits larger sum, deposits are frozen and thus the victim is duped.

As precautionary measure, it is advised to exercise due diligence before investing in any such very high commission paying online schemes sponsored over internet. If an unknown person contacts anyone over WhatsApp or Telegram, refrain from performing financial transactions without verification, the statement said

Verify the name of receiver mentioned in UPI App. If receiver is any random person, it may be a mule account and scheme may be fraudulent.Similarly, check the source from where initial commission is received, it said.

Citizens should refrain from doing transactions with unknown accounts, as these could be involved in money laundering and even terror financing and lead to blocking of accounts by police and other legal action, the statement said.

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