Indian call centers skimming Americans through cyber fraud: NYT report
Report Web desk : India is becoming a major center for cyber fraud as its computer-savvy job seekers are being employed by call centers to scam Americans using fake US government identities. An FBI official who served as assistant legal attached at the US embassy in New Delhi told the New York Times that India is now seen as a major center for cyber fraud. According to him growing number of computer-savvy, young, English-speaking job seekers have combined caused the surge in cybercrimes targeting Americans. “Put all of these together, with the Indian demographics in the U.S., and it’s a natural segue,” the NYT report said quoting Suhel Daud, now an FBI official. According to the report two Indian teenagers called Betsy Broader, who tracks international fraud at the Federal Commission, and gave her details of a criminal operation being carried out in the Indian city of Mumbai to defraud American people. The boy, identified as Jayesh Dubey, told the official that he was working in a seven-story building in Mumbai and that everyone living in that building was involved in the same activity, impersonating as officials from the US revenue department “Internal Revenue Service” to scare people who were evading taxes. If they managed to approach a terrified person who is evading taxes, these impersonators would instruct that person to buy thousands of dollar worth of iTune gift cards to avoid being prosecuted. They will then demand from that person to give them the codes from the iTune cards giving them access to the money on the card. The report said that the US government has been tracking this India-based scheme since 2013 which has deprived Americans, mostly recent immigrants, of money worth about $100 million. Young Indians are lured by these call centers with attractive salaries and taught scripts in English to use fake US official identities and harass Americans with threats of prosecution and made them pay the money through different means, including gift cards. In one such incident, a caller from India called an Indian-origin American and threatened her with severe consequences for failing to pay fee at the time of getting US citizenship in 1995. The lady, fearing problems for her family, transferred all of her savings, nearly 18,000 dollars. In a recent raid, Indian police detained 700 people from a building whose all seven floors were used to scam people in the United States. Police later released 630 of them, but charged other 70 high profile employees. Police also raided similar facilities in several other cities. The US State Department has traced 1.8 million calls targeting US residents to five call centers in one Indian city of Ahmedabad which used various schemes to defraud more than 15,000 people and inflicted losses on them worth hundreds of millions of dollars.