Cyber fraud: Indians trapped in shady jobs in Southeast Asia - The Tribune India

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Cyber fraud

Indians trapped in shady jobs in Southeast Asia

Cyber fraud

Photo for representational purpose only. - File photo



THOUSANDS of Indians find themselves stranded in Myanmar and Cambodia, where they are being forced to commit online fraud and deception. The Ministry of External Affairs has managed to trace and rescue about 250 Indians from Cambodia and around 30 from Myanmar. Organised crime rings, in league with unscrupulous agents, are luring job-seekers in South Asia and Southeast Asia with the promise of employment in the information technology industry in these countries. The new recruits are made to work in cyber fraud centres and coerced into deceiving people through phone calls, emails and WhatsApp messages. In some cases, they extort money on behalf of their employers by pretending to be law enforcement officials.

The worrisome trend validates Interpol head Jurgen Stock’s recent assertion that the organised crime groups, which had fuelled an ‘explosion’ of human trafficking and cyber scam centres during the Covid-19 pandemic, have expanded from Southeast Asia into a global network and are making up to $3 trillion a year. According to Stock, these cyber scam establishments, which have staff members working under duress, have helped crime syndicates diversify — their operations are no longer confined to drug trafficking. Such rackets are reportedly being run in Malaysia and the Philippines as well and are believed to be linked to some Chinese companies.

India, which has a good rapport with the majority of the ASEAN nations, needs to step up the crackdown on operators of fraudulent call centres and ensure that its advisories about online/phone scams are widely circulated among the stakeholders. Close coordination and regular exchange of inputs among the governments can be effective in deterring criminals. Another aspect that cannot be ignored is the Indian nationals’ desperation to take up jobs in countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia. This is a sad commentary on the employment scenario in India. Course correction is required to prevent skilled young persons from falling into this vicious trap.

#cyber crime #Myanmar


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