Digital Desk, New Delhi. Delhi Police has busted a money laundering scam being run by Chinese-based entities. Two CAs, a Tibetan woman and eight others have been arrested by the Delhi Police in this financial crackdown. Nearly five lakh Indians have been duped through malicious quick earning apps running under the guise of an online multi-level marketing campaign. Chinese fraudsters stole money as well as sensitive data of people. According to police commissioner SN Srivastava, more than Rs 150 crore has been siphoned off in just two months.
Explaining the origin of the operation, DCP Anyesh Roy said that the cyber crime cell had been noticing posts on social media for several days related to two apps: Power Bank and EasyPlan. After this, a team led by ACP Aditya Gautam did a technical analysis of the apps in a lab. EZPlan was available on the website www.ezplan.in. The power bank app introduced itself as a Bengaluru-based technology start-up involved in quick-charging technology to deceive people. However, the server on which the app was hosted was found to be located in China.
These malicious apps used to ask their users for permissions like reading camera and contact details. To entice a large number of people to invest more, a pay out of 5-10% of the invested amount was given. This would make people trust the app and start investing more money. With this, they used to start sharing the app with their friends and relatives. Once someone had invested a large amount, the app would block his account. This caused huge financial loss to that person.
To reach out to the people, Chinese handlers used to contact various apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Along with this, he used to hire some people as his partners to form shell companies and fake bank accounts. A large number of such apps have been circulated by fraudsters, including Power Bank, EZCoin, Sun Factory, Lightning Power Bank, etc. Some of these malicious apps were also listed on the Google Play Store.
Police said that most of these apps were promoted through YouTube channels, Telegram channels and WhatsApp chat links and through bulk SMS. Once the user registered on the app, he was prompted to invest money again and again to earn very high returns.