“E-commerce scams are not new but what’s more alarming is the covert cyber warfare the Chinese entities are launching in India on a repeated basis,” said Vineet Kumar, founder and president, CyberPeace Foundation.
He said ‘Spin the Wheel’ scam is not a new phenomenon and has been around for over a couple of years. Research states that India has over 100 million online shoppers and as more people come online, Kumar said more such scams are expected to take place. “The information collected via these scams can be used to undertake more such cyber-attacks, especially targeted at internet users in Tier-II and Tier-III cities where awareness about such scams are low,” said Kumar.
CyberPeace said ‘Spin The Lucky Wheel Scam’ emerged within days of Flipkart announcing its Big Billion Days (BBD) sale. Chinese scammers used this opportunity to create a similar-looking scam called ‘Amazon Big Billion Day Sale’. Internet users in India were sent spurious links to click on and participate in a contest where individuals could win an OPPO F17 Pro smartphone. People who were duped into believing that they had won the phone as a prize would be asked to share the link via WhatsApp to their friends and family.
CyberPeace Foundation deployed open-source investigative methods to examine the links. All the domain links were found registered in China, specifically in Guangdong and Henan provinces, to an organisation called Fang Xiao Qing. The hackers registered these domains on Alibaba’s Cloud computing platform, according to CyberPeace. Hackers hosted these links across Belgium and the US. As of today, these links are still found to be operational and active.