26 Fake Indian Tech Support Call Centers Raided By Police; Arrests Made
One of the most difficult things we have to deal with is when one of our readers falls for one of the many tech support scams that are ubiquitous on the Internet – the one we most frequently help people with is the Microsoft support scam where the victim either gets a phone call from someone claiming to be Microsoft and making them believe their computer is infected or spreading spam or malware – or when a popup window appears on their screen urging them to call a toll-free number because there computer is full of viruses and malware. Every week we get frantic emails from people who’ve been duped by these scams.
We’ve warned people many times about these kinds of tech support scams and written many articles about them. For instance:
Over the years, we’ve helped dozens of people get back hundreds of dollars stolen by these scammers and also helped them clean up their computers after allowing these scammers access to their computers.
According to an article on the BBC website, these scammers were making over $1 billion a year by claiming to be employees of Microsoft and other computer related companies.
We cannot emphasize this enough:
THE MORE YOU KNOW THE SAFER YOU’LL BE.
Here are two excerpts from articles about these raids and arrests we encourage you to read…
From the BBC website:
More than 50 people have been arrested in India for their alleged involvement in fake security warning scams.
The New York Times said that Delhi police made the arrests during raids on 26 call centres linked to the scams.
Software giant Microsoft helped police trace who was behind the large-scale operations.
It said it received more than 11,000 calls per month about fake security warnings and that many people lost significant sums to the fraudsters.
‘This is an organised crime,’ Courtney Gregoire, an assistant general counsel in Microsoft’s digital crimes unit told the US newspaper.
Microsoft has estimated that fraudsters make about $1.5bn (£1.2bn) a year through fake Windows support calls.
Raids on 16 call centres were carried out this week and, earlier in November, another 10 locations were visited by police.
The raids were prompted by Microsoft filing complaints with local police in New Delhi about call centres it claimed were involved in the fraudulent operations.
Typically, said Microsoft, attempts to trick people revolved around pop-up warnings that falsely claimed that a person’s computer was infected with a virus.
Fixing the non-existent virus could involve ringing a tech support centre. An operator would talk a victim through a fake fix and then charge them for the work.
In another version of the scam, staff at call centres claimed to be calling from Windows official support saying they had spotted that a person’s computer has been hacked or harboured a virus. Again, victims were expected to pay to fix the non-existent problem.
Some people caught out by the scam paid up to $1,000 for the fake tech support, said the newspaper…
And also this from the New York Times website:
MUMBAI, India — You know the messages. They pop up on your computer screen with ominous warnings like, “Your computer has been infected with a virus. Call our toll-free number immediately for help.”
Often they look like alerts from Microsoft, Apple or Symantec. Sometimes the warning comes in a phone call.
Most people ignore these entreaties, which are invariably scams. But one in five recipients actually talks to the fake tech-support centers, and 6 percent ultimately pay the operators to “fix” the nonexistent problem, according to recent consumer surveys by Microsoft.
Law enforcement authorities, working with Microsoft, have now traced many of these boiler rooms to New Delhi, India’s capital and a hub of the global call-center industry. On Tuesday and Wednesday, police from two Delhi suburbs raided 16 fake tech-support centers and arrested about three dozen people. Last month, the Delhi authorities arrested 24 people in similar raids on 10 call centers…
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