Scam that cheated thousands of Indians: Cops arrest 12 including 2 Chinese women
New Delhi, Jan 16: Following raids across Delhi, twelve persons including two Chinese nationals have been arrested in the National Capital Region.
The arrested persons have been accused of luring Indian cellphone users into earning easy money by liking videos on the social media platforms and following those accounts. The main intent of these persons was to install malware into these phones and install banned software in them.
In the operation, two Chinese women Chaohong Deng Daoyong, 27, and Wu Jiazhi, 54, were arrested from Lajpat Nagar. The suspects used a malicious app to make phone users knowingly or unknowingly follow social media accounts. This would be used later. To manipulate and influence Indian users said DCP (Cyber Cell) Anyesh Roy.
Tens of millions of Indians had downloaded these malicious apps and there were at least 40,000 confirmed victims who had lost their money to this fraud, he also said. The police also said that there are two other Chinese nationals who are the kingpin of this racket and they are on the run. They moved out of India in early 2020, he also said.
The fraud began when the users started receiving WhatsApp messages containing encrypted URLs from international numbers.
"These messages promised good, easy money in return for clicking the like button on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, and for following social media accounts," the DCP also said.
Clicking on the website link would lead to a link to the download the app. Upon registering, the users would receive social media videos to link and accounts to follow. They would be paid Re 6 for each such action and the number of tasks and amount paid for each action would rise substantially if the users opted for a VIP membership by paying between Rs 1,000 and Rs 50,000.
The gang made crores of rupees and routed them to shell companies in which Indian and Chinese people were found to be directors. "The Indians who were made directors were people like accountants, office boys and drivers working for the Chinese people," the DCP also said.
Further the social media accounts being promoted were passed off as belonging to celebrities, but were in reality freshly created accounts with unknown origin and ownership.
Roy said, when these social media accounts would receive a large number of followers, they could later be used to manipulate and influence Indian social media users. The app would seek dangerous permission of users to discreetly install several software packages and apps. One of these apps was the QQ Browser app which belongs to the QQ family of apps banned by the Indian government in June last year," he also said.
The app itself was a malware that would make users follow thousands of social media accounts without their knowledge. The website and app being used in this fraud were hosted to IPs found to attached to Chinese companies. He said that the police began probing this fraud after receiving a complaint from a woman who lost Rs 50,000. On Wednesday the police raided several places in Delhi-NCR and arrested 12 people. The police recovered Rs 2.5 lakh in cash from them and also froze several accounts which had money up to Rs 4.75 crore.