Indian authorities have searched 10 call centers in the city of Delhi after they received evidence from Microsoft that the call centers were involved in so-called “tech support scams”. In total 24 people, including owners and team leaders were arrested and accused of fraud.
The scammers stole money from Windows users by impersonating Microsoft support employees over the phone. The Indian police have now cracked down on this infamous tech support scam by arresting 24 scammers in several call centers in Delhi, according to Indian website NDTV.
After a Microsoft India employee filed a complaint, the Delhi police identified and raided 10 call centers in the city at Wednesday and Thursday night. The arrested fraudsters are suspects of fraud, as they pretended to be Microsoft support personnel and made victims pay for helping with computers issues, while in reality they stole money and infected the computer with malware.
Microsoft’s complaint states that victims were presented with popup windows on their computer that tricked the user into thinking their computer was infected with malware and taken over by a hacker. The popup displayed a phone number and when victims called the number, they believed they reached Microsoft as someone impersonating a Microsoft support representative took the call. This fake Microsoft support employee would convince the victim to get remote access to the computer to diagnose the problem.
After the fake diagnose, the fake Microsoft technician tricked victims into paying $100 – $500 for a long-term subscription with an assurance to fix their problem. In some cases the fake Microsoft agents also gained access to financial and identity data of the victim. The scammers also frequently installed malware on the victim’s system.
The Delhi police not only took servers, call logs and phone transcripts during the searches, but also cheques from “customers” directed to Microsoft Tech Support and Microsoft Support training materials.
Tech support scams are a global problem. According to numbers from Microsoft, about 3.3 million Americans were called by tech support scammers in 2015. The company also has a page with known phone numbers from tech support scammers.