The websites were blocked on the recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs
The websites, which facilitated task-based or organised illegal investment related economic crimes, were being operated by overseas actors
The scamsters used digital advertisement, chat messengers and mule or rented accounts to target citizens
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has blocked over 100 websites for their alleged involvement in organised illegal investments and fraudulent part-time job schemes on the recommendation of the Union Home Ministry.
In a statement, MHA said overseas actors were found to be operating these websites.
“Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre ,MHA, through its vertical National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (NCTAU) had last week identified and recommended over 100 websites involved in organised investment / task based – part time job frauds. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), invoking its power under the Information Technology Act, 2000, has blocked these websites,” the statement added.
These websites, which facilitated task based or organised illegal investment related economic crimes, were being operated by overseas actors and using digital advertisement, chat messengers and mule or rented accounts, the ministry said.
The proceeds from the large-scale economic frauds were seen to be laundered out of India using card networks, cryptocurrency, overseas ATM withdrawals and international fintech companies.
Modus Operandi And Precautions
These fraudulent schemes typically are carried out through a series of steps. It begins with the launch of targeted digital advertisements on platforms such as Google and Meta, employing keywords like “Ghar baithe job” and “Ghar baidhe kamai kaise karen” in multiple languages.
The ads primarily target retired individuals, women, and unemployed youth seeking part-time employment. Once a potential victim clicks on the advertisement, a conversation is initiated via WhatsApp or Telegram by an agent who persuades them to perform tasks such as video likes, subscriptions, and map ratings.
After the completion of these tasks, the victim receives an initial commission and is then encouraged to invest more in anticipation of higher returns for subsequent tasks. However, once the victim gains confidence and deposits a larger sum, the deposits are abruptly frozen, leading to financial deception.
In the past, the Ministry of Home Affairs shared advisories to exercise caution when considering investments in online schemes offering exceptionally high commissions. Individuals were also cautioned against engaging in financial transactions on WhatsApp or Telegram without proper verification.
It also recommended scrutinising the name of the receiver in UPI apps, as random recipients may indicate a potential fraudulent scheme. “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 ministry said.
A number of such digital fraud cases have come to light over the last year or so. Earlier this year, the Delhi Police arrested three individuals for orchestrating a work-from-home scam.
Many of these scamsters use apps like WhatsApp and Telegram to reach out to people in the name of job opportunities and to cheat them, as Inc42 reported in a detailed story earlier this year.