New Delhi: Call centres in India have become a major headache for foreigners, mainly citizens of the United States. According to tech giant Microsoft, the company has received 3 lakh reports from customers after they were duped by fake call centres running from Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Bengaluru, Pune, etc. The Delhi Police elite wing special cell has arrested 24 people working in 10 call centres on Wednesday. According to Microsoft, these call centres mainly target people in the US and European countries, majorly senior citizens on the pretext of technical help. According to the company, a survey was conducted by Microsoft in the US and it found that out of 3 people, 2 have encountered such scams.

"Since 2015, the Complainant (Microsoft) herein, has received nearly 300,000 reports from customers relating to tech support fraud operations such as the one complained of herein. A recent survey commissioned by the Complainant found that 2 out of 3 people in the United States have had an encounter with technical support scam operations," Microsoft said in its complaint.

On the complaint of the company, Delhi Police Cyber Cell arrested 24 people working in 10 different call centres. According to the cybercrime team, these call centres dupe people globally with a pop-up. "They send a pop-up to the system of the users showing a warning of virus attack. In that pop-up, they provide details of their contact to save the system from any attack. Once a person puts in the data, they dupe them by taking their money which goes straight to their account. They misuse names of big companies," an official said.

According to the FIR, apart from Microsoft, other companies’ names like Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Symantec, Toshiba, Netflix, Google, Netflix etc., have been misused to perpetrate such scams.

The money involved in such fraud cases can be judged by the fact that last week alone, in Chicago, 15 people, including seven Indians, and five India-based call centres found involved in a multi-million-dollar scam. According to the Department of Justice, the accused defrauded over 2,000 US citizens, resulting in over $5.5 million in losses.

This technical support fraud is one of the single largest types of consumer fraud perpetrated in the world. According to a report of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation's 2016 Internet Crime Report, tech support fraud is listed as one of its top cybercrime trends in 2016 alone.

Modus operandi

The accused persons, using computer resources and the internet, transmit communicate false pop-up messages to the users living in various countries across the globe. These messages of cyber attacks, viruses etc., contains the logo of reputed companies. On the pretext of giving technical support to protect from such attack, they dupe people.