Last Updated on May 11, 2021 by Calvin C.
I introduced the subject of fake tech support in one previous article after witnessing elderly victims get targeted by Indian scammers on YouTube. This illegal activity supercharged me to keep researching on ways to stay safe online. This is a brief article on why fake Indian call centers thrive even when the establishments are illegal.
Who is behind the fake call centers?
Each call center is surprisingly organized with the usual setup of a legitimate company. This means you find several employees who are on the ground and executing the scams, a manager and the owner of the whole operation.
One may think scammers who make the calls pocket all the funds they steal from victims but instead, most of the funds are channeled to the owner.
Scammers are have different levels depending on experience and this also reflects on the commission they earn.
Usually, junior scammers are responsible for establishing the initial contact with the victim after which they pass the call to a senior, more experienced scammer who delivers the final blow.
I was shocked to learn that these scammers are actually put under pressure by their bosses to meet certain targets else there is no commission.
They work long shifts and are underpaid because the job doesn’t require much skill as long as one speaks English.
That partly explains why scammers are very impatient and quickly blow a gasket when a victim is not cooperative.
The good book says the love of money is the root of all evil. A scammer can bleed and rebleed a victim multiple times with zero contemplation of the effects the scams have on victims.
In one sad story, an 82-year old gramdmother committed suicide after sending all her money to telephone scammers.
This shows that the individuals behind the scams have no soul and their only fixation is on stealing the money.
The owner of the call centers is usually responsible for recruiting new scammers and counting the loot. In some cases, one owner runs several call centers.
These call centers hide behind legitimate businesses to avoid detection by the authorities.
Places in India where scammers are concentrated are Kolkata and New Delhi.
How do scammers join the trade?
In 2019, the population in India was recorded as around 1.366 billion, trailing behind China which had 1.398 billion.
This large population strains resources resulting in high unemployment rate as too many people compete for too few jobs.
Scammers are usually recruited from sites like shine.com where they are fooled into believing that they are getting genuine jobs.
Desperation for employment is what lands most youths in call centers and it’s easy money for them.
India was colonized by Britain and English is spoken as second language, making it easy for scammers to establish a conversation with victims in English speaking countries like the USA or Canada.
Scammers usually follow a script that is crafted to answer any questions asked by the victim so after repeated scams, it becomes second nature.
Flattery is used to put a victim at ease and the goal of most scams is to drive the victim to do three actions:
- Establish remote access using a desktop software like Anydesk or Teamviewer
- Log into an online bank account
- Send money using gift cards, a mule or via wire transfer
The script has proven to be effective such that if you listen to several scams, you can predict what the scammer will ask the victim to do next.
Some scammers have turned over a new leaf and work with scambaiters and authorities to dismantle these illegal call centers.
What is being done about these call centers?
Fake call centers are illegal in India and the Indian Police has a cybersecurity arm that targets these scammers.
The strong presence of scammers in India shows that efforts by local authorities have failed to get it under control.
This led to the rise of scambaiters whose goal is to destabilize the operations of these call centers.
Scambaiters use various methods and these include:
- Wasting a scammers time by pretending to be a victim (Kitboga)
- Hacking into a scammers computer or network and infecting it with malware which renders the PC unusable (Scambaiter)
- Exposing the location of call centers and scammers, thus making it easier for local authorities to take them down (Jim Browning)
- Warning victims that are actively connected to scammers
- Blocking transactions to prevent scammers from accessing funds paid by the victims
- Gathering intel from scammers computers to learn more about their operations
- Informing service providers whose infrastructure is used by scammers
The combined efforts of these scambaiters have left a dent in the operations of scammers.
Followers have hailed the work they are doing and more people are now aware of tactics used by scammers.
Elderly people are targeted in most cases because it’s easier to confuse them with technical jargon.
If you have a relative, mother or father who uses the internet, it is important to constantly remind them that:
- No big company calls you to fix your computer. If it has a problem, you get contact details from their official website.
- If you get such a call, hang up the phone immediately.
- Don’t allow anyone to establish remote access to your computer.
- Anyone who asks for gift cards as a method of payment is a scammer until proven otherwise.
- If a caller asks you to connect to your bank online, call the bank first. At best hang up the call.
- Never call phone numbers that appear in pop-up messages, whether it’s an alert or an Ad.
Another way you stay safe online is to change your IP address and hide your online activity using a VPN.
All your traffic is hidden in a VPN tunnel and this greatly diminishes the chances of hackers snooping in your network.
Even scambaiters use top VPN services to hide their location when they establish reverse connection on scammer’s computers.
Encourage your loved ones to use a VPN because the level of damage scammers and hackers cause is alarming.
- The VPN that I recommend is NordVPN because it has Adblock and antimalware features so pop up messages from scammers are kept to a minimum.
- Blocks pop up messages
- Blocks malware
- 30-day free-trial
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 68% off a 2-year plan
Leave comments below and share the post with your loved ones. Let’s help each other fight online scammers and I encourage you to watch videos by scambaiters to understand how the scams are executed.