Fake Tech Support Centers Raided in India: Scams Uncovered

Scams Uncovered – Fake Tech Support

Computers are fantastic until they don’t work as expected. Then, people often get flustered and anxiously wonder how to make their machines function normally again.

Scammers at fake tech support centers — frequently based in India — capitalize on those unsettled feelings, often coercing people to pay to fix problems that don’t exist.

Successful Crime Shutdowns in India

These fraudulent tech support efforts have become so severe that London police are working with Microsoft to catch the crooks and are partnering with Indian police forces. The tech brand is particularly interested in helping stop the crimes because the criminals often say they’re representatives of Microsoft.

During a two-day operation in late November 2018, more than 100 members of Indian law enforcement raided 16 call centers, resulting in 39 arrests and counting.

Microsoft received more than 7,000 complaints from users associated with those locations. The criminals have a global reach, since the reports of problems came from people in more than a dozen countries.

There was also another raid six weeks before the November events where police infiltrated 10 call centers and arrested two dozen people.

Then, the law enforcement agents gathered significant evidence of the crimes, including call scripts and voice recordings. That earlier raid happened after a complaint from Microsoft about the problem.

Two Basic Versions of the Scam

 

The criminals usually take one of two approaches when trying to scam people. Often, they make pop-up boxes appear on the computer that say the machine has a virus.

Accompanying information then provides people with a number to call to speak with supposed tech support personnel. After those individuals claim to repair the issue, they charge the victims amounts of typically $150-$499.

A variation involves the tech support posers contacting people by phone, sometimes going so far as to spoof the number so it comes across on the screen as being from a company that legitimately would provide computer assistance.

The callers then lie about “known” problems on a person’s machine and offer to remedy the issue.

Microsoft Doesn’t Make Unsolicited Calls

This problem has become so severe that Microsoft created a dedicated page to help people recognize if they’re getting targeted by scammers. One of the things the company points out is that it never makes unsolicited calls to customers to ask for personal information — including financial details — or offer tech support help.

These scammers have been around for a while and were so prevalent in 2017 that one news outlet warned people not to answer calls from a certain number associated with the criminals. To avoid thinking these scams are real, people should keep in mind how genuine tech support call centers operate. They usually make customers jump through a few hoops, such as waiting on hold for a while.

A 2018 report from Microsoft found although the overall numbers of people believing fake tech support calls were real went down, there were still more than six in 10 people victimized.

Many scammers got people to download software that allowed the criminals to take over their computers, but some asked the victims to go to websites.

Security Software Often Won’t Stop the Scammers

Although Microsoft is the company focused on here, the tech support problem affects other companies, too. In early 2018, security researchers shed light on a version of this scam that made users’ browsers lock up when using Chrome and Firefox.

Plus, the criminals have figured out how to make their fake pop-ups and other tricks to bypass the security software on a person’s computer.

Analysts say using an ad-blocking plugin is often an effective way to avoid the pop-ups that make the browser dysfunctional, since most of the ads are from a category of malicious web content called maladvertising. They also clarify that even when scammers lock the browser like this, it’s usually possible to force quit the browser from the computer’s task manager window.

Staying Protected Means Not Panicking

Besides the way these criminals lure people into believing lies by telling them their computers have problems, they sometimes try to shame victims into thinking they’ve done something wrong to make the “issues” happen.

To reiterate, real brands do not solicit people over the phone for tech support. Instead of panicking, individuals should take a deep breath and hang up the phone or otherwise stop engaging.

Doing that helps them avoid getting trapped into paying money or letting the criminals tamper with their machines.

By Kayla Matthews

THOUGHT LEADERS

John

Notre Dame – Saving the Past Provides a Glimpse of the Future

The tragedy of Notre Dame’s fire showed how we will really work in the future. Along side the brave hundreds of firemen were robots and ...
Mark Kirstein

2020 Market Predictions: Cloud-Services Growth Will Continue

2020 Tech Market Predictions The beginning of every new year is a healthy time for businesses to survey the cloud landscape, reflect on the market ...
Chandani Patel

Design Practices: AWS IoT Solutions

AWS IoT Solutions Internet of Things (IoT) presents an unparalleled opportunity for every industry to address their business challenges. With the proliferation of devices, one ...
Blockchain What Is

How Can Blockchain-as-a-Service Help Your Business?

Blockchain-as-a-Service “Have you seen the price of Bitcoin?”, “You gotta get in on Ripple, it’s going through the roof!”, “Are we in a crypto bubble? Is it ...
John

Directive 20 Repealed – Beat the Cyber War Drums?

Exposed by Snowden in his 2013 document dump, Presidential Directive 20 limits the U.S. in attacking/counter attacking with cyber weapons. Now it has been rescinded ...
Maur

Turning Up Cloud Security Before It's Too Late

Securing The Cloud By the end of 2015 the cloud computing industry reached an all time high of $120 billion dollars. This has been supported by ...

Cloud Community Supporters

Isc2 Logo
Aws
Hp
Ca
Cisco Logo

Cloud community support comes from sponsorship, service opportunities and collaborative network partnership initiatives.