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ADIF asks IT Ministry to stop online scams via Google Search ads

New Delhi, May 12, 2022- The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) on Thursday urged the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to stop the spread of online scams due to fraudulent ads on Google Search.

In a letter addressed to IT Secretary Alkesh Kumar Sharma, the foundation urged adequate regulation of false advertisements to ensure the safety of Indians online.

The industry body pointed to a recent incident of fraudsters advertising numbers disguised as customer support numbers of Mobikwik on Google.

The topmost result of a Mobikwik helpline number on the search engine is, in fact, a fraudulent link – through which scamsters ask for UPI transfers or send UPI pull requests – meant to swindle help seekers.

“A major concern is the lack of adequate regulation of false advertisements and there’s an urgent need to protect the safety of Indians on the internet,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, Executive Director of ADIF.

The foundation claimed that tech firms, such as Google, charge hefty fees to host these ads and make profits from them.

The letter said that these fraudulent ads contribute a significant part of the revenue of these tech firms all the while exposing users to high risks.

“The misuse of their platform by big tech firms is going unchecked and Indian citizens are paying a price for it,” said George.

ADIF has requested a meeting with MeitY to help develop a robust mechanism for making the internet safe for the people.  (Agency)

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