We all know how the Internet is one of the greatest inventions. It allowed us to have information at our fingertips, communicate more efficiently and has made the world a smaller place via the convenience of connection. However, it has also allowed fraudulent scammers to easily reach us and hack into our personal and private lives online.
CBC News "Fraud Fighters" show how they track down Indian scammers who, over the last few years, have been explicitly tricking innocent Canadian citizens, particularly the elderly and those not so tech-savvy, into giving them access and stealing their cash.
These tech scammers in India employ mules in Canada to traffic money back to their headquarters. The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) can only arrest these mules, but the masterminds are hard to reach, thousands of miles away. The stolen money is rarely ever returned.
India is a central IT hub and is home to some of the world's most advanced and sophisticated call center industries. The criminal masterminds will set up a call center to reach out to potential victims and scam them right there and then while on the call. These call center agents will receive a cut or percentage of whatever amount they steal.
They employ ingenious phishing scams cleverly disguised as Tech support calls. These so-called Tech support scams use agents trained to sound professional and legitimate. They pose as the customer service or support staff of large companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Apple.
These scammers will then contact you, fraudulently claiming you have software problems or have been hacked, and they can help you secure your computer immediately. What comes next is a barrage of pressure and scare tactics to make you grant them remote access to your computer and pay for their services to "fix" your nonexistent software or hacker problem.
They will then proceed to steal personal and financial information from your computer. These agents will also install malware, ransomware, and other viruses that can continue to spy on you or destroy your device.
Though it may sound like old school flim-flam, these tech support scammers are highly sophisticated, setting up actual companies with professional looking websites and fake client reviews. They are also often found on the Better Business Bureau site to make them look more legitimate.
North Irish hacker Jim Browning helps the team out, tipping off the investigators to phone scams in progress. Jim (Not his real name) is a popular YouTuber, and computer expert (and hacker) whose life mission is to expose the scammers who prey on so many people and trick them out of their hard-earned money.
Though Indian authorities are cracking down on these scammer call centers, the masterminds usually getaway. In Canada, the police believe a massive information campaign is needed to prevent anyone from getting victimized. However, we should also do our part and be cautious while using the Internet.