Indian Scammers May Be Responsible For Fake Virus Pop-up Alerts

Shakti - Dec 04, 2018

Indian Scammers May Be Responsible For Fake Virus Pop-up Alerts

A scam, correlating with antivirus message on the computer, has stolen billion dollars from users yearly. It is spreading over the world.

You may feel acquainted with this situation on your computer: a message abruptly emerges on the screen and portentously alerts, “Your computer has been infected with a virus. Call our toll-free number immediately for help.”

Frequently, these antivirus notifications will look similar to those from Apple, Symantec, and Microsoft. Occasionally, they appear during your phone calls.

Some people have a tendency to set aside such persuasion, which is consistently a scam. However, on recent customer surveys conducted by Microsoft, 1 out of 5 receivers informs the technical support centers, while 6 percent eventually spend money on the operations which could solve this unreal problem.

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 A pop-up campaign could generate about $10 million after running on more than 142 websites in 2 months

Law enforcement agencies in collaboration with Microsoft have tracked down a lot of these boiler rooms to India’s capital, where numerous international call centers are locating. This Tuesday and Wednesday, 36 staffs of 16 fake technical support companies were arrested after police’s surprise searches. Last month, making similar raids on 10 call-center companies, the Delhi governments decided to arrest 24 people.

In one suburb of New Delhi, Gautam Budh Nagar, during Tuesday night, eight centers were rapidly investigated by 50 policemen. It was stated by Ajay Pal Sharma, the senior supervisor, that thousands of people, mostly American and Canadian, were defrauded by these scammers.

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These illegal activities are happening everywhere, said Courtney Gregoire, an assistant general counsel in Microsoft’s digital crimes unit.

Nearly 11,000 dissatisfied feedbacks about scams are sending each month to Microsoft, whose Windows are used by most of the individually owned computers, and approximately 150,000 pop-up advertisements are spotted each day through Internet monitoring. There are also regular posts on Microsoft’s tech-support forums, complaining about fake services.

Even though the American government has been hindering these illegal activities in many cities like Ohio and Florida, the scams actually rooted in India, which involves many global call-center companies. Outscoring industry in India, including call center, yields a vast amount of revenue each year – approximately $28 billion- and has roughly 1.2 million employees.

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It is challenging for many tech giants, even Microsoft, to fight against imitators, because India is running several legal tech-support operations.

This scam seems to be pretty profitable. Only a pop-up campaign could generate about $10 million after running on more than 142 websites in 2 months, which is the study’s result from Stony Brook University.

Najmeh Miramirkhani, a researcher of this study, said the network of this scam is hugely complex, because many scammers make phone calls by themselves, while the others use an algorithm to create virtual ones originating from India, and there is shared data among them.

“This is an organized crime,” she said.

This scam is now spreading not only all over English- speaking countries but also other nations speaking their local languages to find its new victims. India and China hold the top rankings of 16 countries in Microsoft’s survey on the number of people paying the fake operations. Therefore, in this state of affairs, Microsoft, Apple, Google and law enforcement authorities have made a decision to work together and solve this problem.

Moreover, this matter is expanding outside the range of fake technical support. The Justice Department, in July, said that 24 convicts in 8 states had pretended IRS tax collectors by using Indian call- center companies. These law offenders had defrauded 15,000 people of up to billions of dollars. 32 Indian contractors were accused too.

Other tax authorities in Canada were impersonated by call centers in the same way; however, it was detected by Sharma’s department, he said.

Microsoft, IRS and legal technology companies never call their customers unexpectedly or send them security alerts on the screen, telling users to call the companies.

To avoid being tricked, Miramirkhani suggested simply: Don’t answer the phone!


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