"In a recent incident, fraudsters have been advertising numbers disguised as customer support numbers of a large company (Mobikwik) on Google. The top result of a Mobikwik helpline number is actually a fraudulent link meant to scam help seekers. The scamsters ask for UPI transfers or send UPI pull requests from handles that seem like they belong to the main brand," the Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF), an alliance of over 500 Indian start-ups, said in a letter sent to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on May 12. "Fraudulent advertisements on popular search engines and social media platforms have come up as the latest way of online scams. [...] The absence of adequate regulation of false advertisements is a matter of concern. As representative of startups, I would like to request you to look into the issue urgently as it concerns the entire startup ecosystem and the safety of Indians on the internet," ADIF wrote. Concerning that Google profits from ads causing financial loss and mental stress ADIF said that it is concerning Google and other tech firms charge hefty fees to host fraudulent ads and make profits from them. It also pointed out that these scams not just cost financial losses but also put "sheer mental stress and trauma" on lakhs of Indians yearly. "All of this happening swiftly in the ecosystem of big tech firms makes it even more concerning. These fraudulent ads contribute majorly to the revenue of these firms while exposing users to high risks," ADIF stated. "The blatant misuse of their platform by…
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