Earlier this week, local law enforcement officials in India raided 16 call centers identified by Microsoft as engaging in tech support fraud, pretending to be affiliated with companies including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Dell, and HP. Thirty-nine have been arrested so far.
In a New York Times report, Ajay Pal, senior superintendent of police, said the scammers took money from thousands of primarily American and Canadian victims. Microsoft has received more than 7,000 victim reports from the 16 locations, which are spread over 15 countries.
Call center scammers usually prompt victims with a phone call or pop-up, warning of a computer problem and using scare tactics to get them to call tech support. Victims are manipulated into providing remote access for "further diagnosis" and typically charged a fee of $150 to $499 for unnecessary tech support, which also leaves their computers vulnerable to attacks.
This most recent raid happened six weeks after a successful operation by the Delhi Cyber Crime Cell, which raided 10 call centers, arrested 24 people, and obtained evidence including call scripts, live chats, voice call recordings, and customer records. The takedown successes in India reflect broader global effort to combat tech support fraud, Microsoft explains in a blog post.
The post, by Courtney Gregoire, assistant general counsel of Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, goes into detail about how analysis of cybercriminals' behavior is influencing products and services including Windows 10, Windows Defender, and the SmartScreen filter.
Gregoire points out that education is the best defense and advises readers to be wary of unsolicited phone calls or pop-ups. Microsoft will never proactively contact customers for PC or technical support, she says. All contact with the company must be initiated by users.
Read more details here.
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