Fraud Alert! 16 Fake call centers were identified today as engaged in tech support fraud by Microsoft. Under a massive raid conducted by the local India law enforcement officials from Gurgaon and Noida in India, 16 fake call centers were identified yesterday and 39 people are arrested so far. These so-called authorized call centers claim themselves to be affiliated with companies like Microsoft Google, HP Dell, and Apple.
Combatting tech support scams
The Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Pal Sharma gave his statement saying, “The scammers had extracted money from thousands of victims, most of whom were American or Canadian.”
Around 7,000 victims have reported the scam associated with these 16 locations. The number, however, may increase after further investigation. Most of the victims were Americans and Canadians.
These fake call centers send the fake warning alerts to the customers saying that your PC has a problem and needs immediate technical support. The alert messages are normally so convincing that the customers get trapped and seek the tech support. The frauds in the call center then convince the victim to give the remote access to their PC to check and solve the issue, thereby charging them a hefty amount as service charge. These call centers were not only bagging money from the victims but also getting the unauthorized access to their devices.
A similar raid operation was done back in the month of October by the Delhi Cyber Crime Cell where 10 call center locations were identified and 24 individuals were arrested. Many significant pieces of evidence were also seized which included the live chats, recorded voice calls, scripts, and customer records. Microsoft also registered a case against these fraud call centers in the Delhi Cyber Crime Cell.
The online tech support fraud is a huge racket which includes marketing and payment processing entities too. The recent successful raid operations commanded by Indian law enforcement have built a solid track record on global lawsuits taking action against such fraudulent. Back in the year 2017, the U.S Federal Trade Commission and its partners announced the “Operation Tech Trap” with 16 separate civil and criminal enforcement actions. In the year 2014, Microsoft also launched an online portal “report a scam” wherein the customers can share any tech fraud they have experienced. These reports are checked directly by the Digital Crimes Unit team at Microsoft. Needless to say, that the customers’ security has always been the topmost priority at Microsoft.
No matter how many support systems we have, we can protect ourselves only by taking extra care and by educating ourselves.
One should always be very careful before sharing any of the personal data with anyone. No tech support company proactively reach you out to provide the tech support on their own. Do not share any of your passwords or login details with anyone. Never ever give the remote access of your device to any third party, until and unless you are sure that it is a legitimate tech support team. If you have any doubt about any tech support company, inform the local authorities immediately.