A sketchy website claims to be offering Xiaomi products as available to ‘buy now' during India's ongoing Coronavirus lockdown.
Xiaomi is a very popular brand in India. But with great popularity has also come many challenges. One of them is meeting demand and while Xiaomi has come a long way from its infamous ‘flash sales’ days, some of its products are still very hard to get — in the first or second round of sales — even after all this time. This is something that scammers and scalpers continue to exploit — to this day. In what appears to be a clear attempt to cash in on India’s ongoing Coronavirus lockdown, wherein e-commerce platforms are prohibited from selling non-essentials including smartphones, a sketchy website claims to be offering Xiaomi products as available to ‘buy now.’
First spotted by XDA’s Tushar Mehta, the mi-home.in website seems like a rather lazy (and shabby) attempt at copying Xiaomi’s mi.com/in website, which is the company’s official online store in India. But what’s baffling is how the makers of the website blatantly claim to represent a Mi India Authorized Store. The website has put up top-selling Xiaomi phones like the Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi K20 Pro, as well as select Mi LED smart TVs, ecosystem products like the Mi Band 3, and accessories like power banks. The unrelated Poco X2 is also available for buying on the website — which is not even a Xiaomi-branded phone because Poco is a different brand now.
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This site https://t.co/9HFfX0J3wP calls itself an authorized partner for selling Mi and Redmi products but the incoherent UI suggests otherwise. @RaghuReddy505 @kasturipaladhi @XiaomiIndia @MiIndiaSupport Can you confirm, please? pic.twitter.com/ZxtdLdJCEY
— Tushar Mehta stays the fuck away from people (@thetymonbay) April 21, 2020
Xiaomi India category head Raghu Reddy has confirmed that the mi-home.in website is fake. Xiaomi India is internally investigating the issue and further action will be taken accordingly. We’ve reached out to Xiaomi for a comment and we will update this piece as soon as we get more clarity on the matter at hand.
But as mentioned earlier, Xiaomi isn’t new to third-party fraudsters exploiting the immense popularity of its products in India. Over 2,000 fake Xiaomi products worth Rs 13 lakh were allegedly seized from four shop owners in Gaffar Market, New Delhi in December last year. “Counterfeited products are not only a big threat to consumer health and safety but also pose a huge risk to consumer’s data security. The products might start malfunctioning and the user might be unaware of the hazards that these kinds of products can cause,” Xiaomi India had said in a statement following the crackdown.
A fake website could be more dangerous. It could trick you in a host of ways, right from phishing attacks to stealing your financial details. The ‘buy now’ option linked to every product on the fake Xiaomi website takes you to a blank page now, but, it has the potential to scam you in countless ways — so be warned and vigilante.