In its latest crackdown on Chinese-operated financial fraud, the Government of India has initiated the process to ban more than 100 such investment scam websites that targeted vulnerable Indian citizens much like the predatory loan apps traced to China. While the face of these investment scam sites were Indian, the proceeds ultimately reached Chinese masters. Sources confirmed to News18 that the Ministry of Home Affairs has communicated to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to block these sites. The sites were identified by central agencies, following which multiple analyses were undertaken, leading to the government initiating the process to ban these. Sources told News18 that more such sites would be added to the ban list in the near future. The websites were found linked to multiple bank accounts and the money was transferred from one account to the other to confuse investigating agencies. The money was eventually converted to cryptocurrency. Various states had written to the Centre about such scams denting the financial system of the country. Hyderabad Police had exposed the largest fraud of this kind wherein a Chinese-run scam amassed around Rs 712 crore. Victims were lured through Telegram app with promises of part-time jobs. A complainant reported to the Hyderabad Cyber Crime Police that he fell for a ‘Rate and Review’ job on Telegram. Initially, victims undertook simple tasks, investing small amounts and rating assignments for profits. Eventually, they were entangled in larger investments with deceptive assurances of significant returns, ultimately becoming victims of the scam. Such rackets are increasingly misusing instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Telegram to carry out these scams. Notably, some crypto wallet transactions in this fraud were linked to a Hezbollah wallet, Hyderabad police officials said. Hezbollah is a Lebanese militia group. Another fraud was reported from Kollam in Thiruvananthapuram where the victim lost around Rs 1.2 crore to Chinese scammers. Similar cases have also been reported in Uttarakhand and Delhi. According to cybersecurity company CloudSEK, the scammers are evading detection by law enforcement agencies with the help of Chinese payment gateways and Indian money mules. “A notable trend we’ve observed is scammers exploiting Chinese payment gateways due to their relative ease of use and limited regulatory scrutiny. These gateways offer a convenient bridge to funnel funds outside India, leveraging sophisticated techniques that blur jurisdictional lines, making it challenging to track and intercept the money trail,” senior security analyst Sparsh Kulshrestha had said.