02, Feb, 2024

MHA Issues Public Warning Amid Increasing Online Frauds Through Gaming Apps

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The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a warning to the public regarding the increasing number of frauds through gaming apps. The MHA’s cyber wing, known as the Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (14C), has urged people to exercise caution when engaging in online gaming and take necessary steps to ensure their safety and security. The cautionary message from the 14C wing said:

 “Play smart, play safe – stay secure while gaming online!”

 One of the key recommendations from the MHA is to download online gaming apps only from authentic sources such as the Google Play Store, Apple Store, and Official Websites. This helps to minimize the risk of downloading and installing malicious apps that may compromise the user’s personal information or device security. 

MHA Guidelines for online gaming

  •  Always check game app publishers’ information in order to ensure website legitimacy.
  •   Never fell in the trap of game in-app purchase and lucrative subscription offers. 
  • Exercise caution while “sharing personal information in chats or forums, as scammers can use social media tactics to manipulate players.” 
  •  Allow only relevant and necessary permissions while downloading app.
  •   In case of online fraud, the I4C suggests to dial 1930–the cybercrime helpline number. 

Meanwhile, the Centre blocked a total of 581 apps till December 15 last year and out of these, there were 174 betting and gambling apps and 87 loan lending apps. These Apps were blocked by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on recommendations of the MHA. These apps were blocked under section 69A of the IT Act, 2000. They included PUBG, GArena Free Fire. Apart from Mahadev, some of the apps that were banned include Parimatch, Fairplay, 1XBET, Lotus365, Dafabet and Betwaysatta. Many of these are on the banned list and some were operating illegally in India.

 Notably, in July last year, the Centre had amended the IGST Act, making it mandatory for all offshore gaming companies to be registered in India. Furthermore, the act also gave the Centre the power to block websites that are not registered and are violating laws. 

The betting platforms were collecting UPI payments through proxy bank accounts and the amount accumulated in proxy accounts is being remitted through hawala, crypto and other illegal routes.

 The government has taken several initiatives for cyber security and in the coming days, nearly 70 per cent of the criminal justice system which includes prisons and courts, will be online.

 More than 20 lakh cyber-crime complaints have been registered on the portal cybercrime.gov.in, based on which more than 40,000 FIRs have been registered.13 crore hits were registered on this portal since its launch in January 2020.As per a report collated by the 14C wing, on an average, more than 5,000 cybercrime complaints are registered per day.

– As published by National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal – Daily Digest*

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