Fake call centers in India tricked over 50,000 people across 15 countries, FBI joins investigation

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  • Fake call centers in Indian cities—Gurugram and Noida—tricked over 50,000 people from across 15 countries in the name of IT giant, Microsoft.
  • The fraudsters in question notified people that their systems had been infected by a virus via pop-up messages and offered them assistance as Microsoft support officials, in turn demanding money to rectify their system.
  • Investigating agencies — Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Interpol and Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted police (RCMP) — have joined the investigation being conducted by the Gurugram and Noida police.
Microsoft Corporation (India) Private Ltd was recently in talks with Gurugram police in to investigate a cyber crime that went on to tricking people from over 15 countries in the name of Microsoft, Hindustan Times reported.

The fraud was reported at the Gurugram police commissioner’s office where teams from Singapore and Ireland presented the matter, along with India’s cyber crime team.

Eight teams were reportedly formed including 40 technical experts and 50 officials from the police force to raid the call centers. On 27 November, Microsoft filed 17 First Information Report (FIRs) against call centers in Gurugram and Noida.

To counter the global fraud, Gurugram and Noida police along with other investigating agencies — Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Interpol and Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted police (RCMP) — have shut down over 17 call centers, arresting 42 people involved in the scam, said the report.

According to reports, the police suspects that the fraud may have affected over 50,000 people altogether pocketing worth hundreds of crores.

However, a few suspects from the accused were released on bail, and defended themselves saying that there was no evidence against them, apart from a complaint from Microsoft Corporation.

With the increasing number of complaints, Microsoft has also released a survey that said that one in every five consumers have shed money in such tech-support scams, PCMag reported.

How the call centre web worked?

According to the complaint and data provided by the company, the cyber experts in question associated with Delhi-based vendors and other online agents to fetch data of foreign citizens, including IP address and email IDs.

The fraudsters then bugged into the targeted systems and notified them of a virus infection via pop-up messages.

This lead to the users landing a call on a given number, which were operated from the call centers — the team then posed as Microsoft support team offering solutions to rectify their system and in turn demanded money.

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