Security News India targets Microsoft, Amazon tech support scammers in nationwide crackdown


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Apr 24, 2016
India's Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided 76 locations in a nationwide crackdown on cybercrime operations behind tech support scams and cryptocurrency fraud.

The police operation, part of Operation Chakra-II, aims to dismantle cyber-enabled financial crime rings and is a collaborative effort involving international law enforcement agencies and tech companies such as Microsoft and Amazon, working alongside the Indian federal enforcement agency.

In raids spanning multiple Indian states, including Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Bihar, Delhi, and West Bengal, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) confiscated 32 mobile phones, 48 laptops and hard disks, and 33 SIM cards.

Additionally, Indian authorities took action by freezing "numerous" bank accounts and seizing emails linked to 15 accounts, providing critical information on the alleged scam operations.

Long-running tech support scams

As a result of Operation Chakra-II, the CBI discovered two tech support scam operations running for at least five years, impersonating customer support agents working for "two well-known multi-national companies."

"The illegal call centers raided by CBI were set up to impersonate Microsoft and Amazon customer support. They targeted over 2,000 customers across Amazon and Microsoft primarily based in the U.S., but also in Canada, Germany, Australia, Spain, and the UK," said Amy Hogan-Burney, the General Manager of Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit.

"This operation was supported by a joint criminal referral made by Amazon and Microsoft through joint prosecution agreements in the U.S. and India, as the same cyber criminals were targeting both our customers," Amazon added.

The tech support scam rings used various international payment gateways and channels to facilitate the movement of funds illicitly acquired from foreign nationals, mainly from the U.S., U.K., and Germany.

"These scammers would contact the victims via internet pop-up messages that falsely appeared to be security alerts from these MNCs (Complainants). The pop-up messages fraudulently claimed that the consumer's computer was having various technical issues," said the CBI.

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