The Indian government has initiated a process to ban more than 100 Chinese websites targeting Indians for investment-related scams. The move comes as the latest crackdown on Chinese online financial fraud. According to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in communication with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), has urged to block the websites as fast as possible
List of prominent Chinese Apps
In the last few years, the government of India has ordered the ban of around 250 Chinese apps, citing them to be a prejudicial threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order. Apps such as TikTok, Xender, Shein, and Camscanner were widely used in India and had millions of downloads. Recently, the Indian version of PUBG Mobile, called BGMI or Battlegrounds Mobile India, was removed from PlayStore (Android) and iOS (Apple App Store)
Reason for Ban
According to the government authorities, these apps were purportedly gathering sensitive user data and requesting important permissions. It has been said that servers in hostile nations are receiving and using the acquired data improperly. The website was found to be linked to multiple bank accounts, and money was transferred from one account to another to confuse investigative agencies. The money was eventually converted to cryptocurrency.
The Hyderabad Police had exposed these frauds of this type wherein a Chinese-run scam amassed around Rs 712 crore. Victims were lured through the Telegram App with the promises of part-time jobs. A complaint was reported to Hyderabad Cyber Crime Police that he fell for Rate and Review Job on Telegram. Initially, the victims undertook simple tasks such as investing small amounts and rating assignments for profits. Eventually, they were entangled in larger investments with deceptive assurances of significant returns, Ultimately, they became victim to the scans.
Such rackets are increasingly misusing instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram to carry out these scams. Notably, some crypto wallet transactions in this particular fraud were linked to a Hezbollah Wallet, Hyderabad police officials said. Hezbollah is a Lebanese militia group.
A similar fraud was reported from Kollam in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), where the victim lost around 1.2 crore to Chinese scammers. Similar cases have been reported in Uttarakhand and Delhi. According to a cyber security company, CloudSEK, the scanner is evading detection by law enforcement agencies with the help of Chinese payment gateways and Indian money mules.
“A notable trend we have observed is scammers exploiting Chinese payment gateways due to their relative ease of use and limited regulatory scrutiny that blurs jurisdiction lines, making it challenging to track and intercept the money trail,” said a senior security analyst, Sparsh Kulshreshtha.