When tech support is a scam: How India’s call-centre scams became big money

The police may uncover the names of supposed victims overseas and “the exact amount in pounds or euros or dollars that (scammers) would charge … them, but that’s not proof of anything”, she says.

Industry insiders agree it is difficult for the authorities to stop them for good.

While some scammers feel bad enough about cheating victims — many of whom are senior citizens —that they quit, there are others who do not believe their actions constitute stealing.

“If I convinced (the person to) take out the money from (her) bank and deposit it in some other account, then … I’m extremely talented,” says a former scammer who earned enough to splurge more than 85,000 rupees on her 20th birthday.

As for Leo, he has reinvented his role after seven years in the business: He now helps others who want to set up a scamming operation.

“If somebody has money (and) wants to get into this business, I help him out from the A to Z of it,” he says.

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He helps them secure a place to operate, get hold of servers, hire staff to handle calls, and set up ways to ensure victims’ monies are channeled back to them, including via cryptocurrency.

He tells his clients they can recoup their “investments” in two months. But in truth, it could be as quick as 15 days.

“You can shut down an office. It’s possible; it does happen a lot,” says Leo. But “you can never shut down a business”, he declares.

Watch this episode of Undercover Asia here.

Artmotion Asia

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