CCTV exposes scammers in Indian call centres
THE full extent of phone scammers in India has been exposed by a UK hacker, as CCTV footage uncovering the criminals at work has been released online.
Each year, thousands of people from the UK fall victim to phone scams – many of which are held in phone centres abroad, where teams of people pretend they work for leading banks, retailers and computing companies.
According to the Money Advice Service, the UK receives an estimated 21 million scam calls each month.
You can use a security alarm system for home to monitor activity in and around your home, so you can be sure that your family is safe even when you’re not there.
A UK man, known only as ‘Jim Browning’, hacked into the CCTV system of an Indian call centre based in Gurugram, southwest of New Delhi, last May. During a special BBC investigation, Browning claimed to have downloaded 70,000 phone calls from the establishment, allegedly based out of a building called Sonit Tower.
Speaking to the BBC, Browning claimed he was aware that hacking into the systems is illegal, but he is adamant he needs to help victims by exposing the fraudsters.
“I think it is pretty unique to see the scammers in actions,” he said of the CCTV footage. “I really do want the whole world to see what this looks like.”
Video footage exposes a number of scammers at the centre, pretending to work for top organisations such as Microsoft. Others tell unsuspecting callers that they are based in California, to make the scam seem legitimate. Victims are urged to call following fake messages on their computer, alerting them to “virus threats”.
The boss of the call centre, OctaFX, is allegedly the mastermind behind the scams. Videos acquired by the BBC showed Chauhan speaking to staff, warning them not to feel sympathy towards victims.
“We focus on the bottom line, this is how we measure success,” he said. “We don’t give a sh*t about the customers.”
Internal documents show that Chauhan’s business are bringing in substantial amounts of money. In February 2019, the scammers made more than $250,000. In April, it had almost doubled at $472, 828.
In response to the investigation, Indian police say they are trying to address the problems surrounding scam call centres. Previously, they have carried out raids in Delhi.
Sameer Sharma, from the Delhi police, admitted scamming crimes were “difficult to crack.”
“Because we don’t have victims, we (therefore) don’t have accused and (that means) we don’t have anything,” he said. “It’s very difficult to link the accused with the victim. It’s even difficult to find out who is the accused.”
Chauhan refused to comment when approached by the BBC.
Previously, a Mail Online investigation found Indian scammers duped up to 100,000 Britons a day, as it was revealed conmen working in call centres posed as UK government officials and demanded thousands of pounds from victims.
Some victims have claimed they have been conned out of £20,000.
While speaking to an undercover reporter, alleged conman, Sandeep Soni, said the “scam works” as the callers threaten victims with legal action.
The conmen admitted they often target elderly Asian immigrants who may have poor English language skills. Immigrants are also an easy target, they revealed, as they are less aware of how the British tax system works.
Previous statistics released by Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber reporting centre, said at least 10 per cent of fraud cases involved India. An HMRC spokesman advised anyone who had lost money to similar types of scammers to contact Action Fraud immediately.