Criminal companies committing computer software service fraud raided in India after City of London Police confirm UK victims
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Ten offices suspected of being involved in computer software service fraud offences, have been raided by authorities in six cities in India.
The City of London Police, the UK’s national lead force for fraud, confirmed people in the UK had been defrauded by these companies and helped provide vital witness statements, detailing the victim’s dealings with the companies concerned, to their counterparts in India. This evidence is a key requirement which enables the police in India to take action against fraudulent companies.
This is further successful work resulting from the partnership between the City of London Police, Microsoft and Indian police forces to tackle computer software fraud, which has already led to action taken against 37 call centres, resulting in 88 arrests .
Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Alex Rothwell, City of London Police, said:
“We are pleased to have been able to support this action taken against criminals defrauding UK citizens – and those of other countries. Our ongoing close working relationship with Microsoft and the Indian authorities has led to sustained action against this type of fraud, demonstrating that we can and will seek out criminals wherever they are.”
“At the time of the lockdown in India, we saw a sharp decline in reports of Computer Software Service Fraud in the UK, but we know that criminals adapt quickly to continue to try to defraud people. As more people work from home, the need to prevent fraud of this nature has become more urgent. We welcome this enforcement action on the part of the Central Bureau of Investigation and will support their efforts to bring offenders to justice through the Indian courts”.
The companies are alleged to have displayed pop-up messages on victim’s computers warning them about serious technical problems with their device including the presence of malware infection.
Victims were then advised to call a helpline to gain assistance and were charged a premium fee for the ‘fix’ and ‘on-going support’. Victims were made to pay this fee online or over the phone, meaning their financial details were shared with criminals.
On the morning of Thursday 17 September 2020, officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India conducted further action in six cities, raiding ten premises. Some home addresses of people associated with the various companies were also visited.
The CBI are currently still investigating.
• Be wary of callers, especially cold callers, who claim to be from Microsoft, your telephony provider or internet service provider. Don’t be afraid to hang up and call the organisation back on a number you have researched yourself. For example, one from the back of a bill or one listed on their official website.
• Do not assume that the number displayed on your phone is accurate. These can be spoofed, leading you to believe that the caller is in the UK or from a trusted organisation.
• Don’t call phone numbers, or visit websites, mentioned on pop-up messages which indicate there is a problem with your computer.
• Never download software on the instructions of a cold caller and never allow remote access to your computer.
• Make sure you install virus protection software or ensure that you’re making the best use of any built in security tools on your device. Ensure you install updates as soon as they are made available.
• Report any approaches to Action Fraud. Make a note of any phone numbers, email addresses, or websites provided by the callers. You should also record the names they give if you can.