Chinese-linked cyber crims nab $529 million from Indian nationals

Authorities also bust a shell company scam operation with links to the Middle Kingdom

Chinese scammers have reportedly stolen a whopping $529 million dollars from Indian residents using instant lending apps, lures of part-time jobs, and bogus cryptocurrency trading schemes, according to the cyber crime unit in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

As of last April, the coppers had busted a network of criminals worth around $378 million, but that total did not include the cryptocurrency-related frauds.

According to local media reports, the scammers promoted their fraud through bulk TXT messages that the police tracked to the Middle Kingdom, with some operators located in Nepal and working under direction by Chinese threat actors. Fake websites and crypto apps were set up to lure in investors.

"The instant loan apps, the part-time job offers and now the crypto trading fraud, all of them are being operated by the same hackers from China. The SMS aggregators are also involved in it," Uttar Pradesh Cyber Crime Superintendent of Police Triveni Singh said, according to Press Trust Of India (PTI).

The crims absconded with funds by first transferring money from the victims to local Indian bank accounts and digital wallets before transferring the cash to Indian crypto currency exchange platform Zebpay and similar international platform Binance.

In April, Singh told PTI the stolen money was ultimately withdrawn in China.

Another Chinese-linked app loan racket, operating out of Gurugram in the northern Indian state of Haryana, was busted last week. According to alocal report four Indian nationals allegedly extorted money in exchange for the false promise of small loans. The suspects also allegedly set up call centers to further execute their crimes and targeted whose with low financial or digital literacy. The four are now in custody.

The suspects kept in contact with their foreign counterparts using Chinese instant messaging app called "Husys", said India's Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

Investigators allege the suspects were declared shareholders and directors of shell companies set up in India on behalf of their Chinese counterparts, who were the actual decision makers and operators.

The Ministry announced it had arrested one Indian resident central to the scheme – called "Mr Dortse" – as he attempted to flee India.

"Mr Dortse is on the Board of Jillian India Ltd and has clearly emerged as the mastermind of the whole racket of incorporating large number of shell companies with Chinese links in India and providing dummy Directors on their Boards." ®

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