Busting tech support scammers: Undercover in India (Marketplace)


[♪♪] [David] We’re secretly recording
a criminal operation targeting Canadians. These scammers in
India don’t know it, but we’re onto them. Over 50 fraudsters in this one
call centre taking control of our computers. [David] And using scare tactics
to demand payment for a computer fix you likely don’t need. [David] It’s called
the tech support scam. [David] From cold calls to fake
pop ups warning you’ve got a virus. [David] Different tactics. Same scam. How much money was
stolen from you? -3,000.
-$3,000. [David] So how did Nahid
Thilipos fall for that scam? Her cell phone stops working, so
she Googles for help and finds a number she thinks is legit. So when the guy
answered, he said, “This is Apple.
What can we do for you?” And I said my problem was
maybe the phone is not– like, there is
something wrong on it. He said, oh, sure,
this is very common. [David] The scammer convinces
her to go to a nearby store and buy a $50 iTunes gift card
to pay for the quick fix. But once she does? He went onto
the phone and he said, there are many
problems on the phone. There are hackers
from Russia, from India, from Brazil. He said all that
about your phone? Yeah. He said it’s a
complicated issue. We need to work on this phone. It has to be minimum $3,000 to
be able to do the transaction. [David] Three grand
to fix her phone? But the scammer
promises a quick refund. When it doesn’t
happen, Nahid calls back. I said, “Where’s my money? “Where’s my money? “Are you the scammers?
Are you thieves?” He then hang up the phone. Then I tried
again, like, 10 times, 12 times.
Nobody want to answer. [David] She’s not alone. [David] In 2018, the tech
support scam cost Canadians nearly $1 million. They’re trying to make
themselves look very legitimate. [David] Former police officer
Ryan Duquette says he’s not surprised. We’ve had
situations where, you know, different ID has been taken
out on people and fake driver’s license and whatnot
going all the way up to, you know, your house being sold. -What?
-Without you knowing. -Yeah, absolutely.
-Your house being sold? Yes. We’ve had situations where a
for sale sign has been posted on somebody’s front yard without
their knowledge of that even happening. So they’ve been able to
steal their identity, take a mortgage out in
their name and whatnot, so it can be pretty scary
when your identity gets stolen. Once they have
control of your computer, is it game over? Once they’re in there, you don’t
know if they’ve installed a backdoor or some
malicious code into your system. So there is a risk here of
losing more than just the money they’re asking for. There’s a risk of losing stuff
that is even more important. Oh, absolutely, yeah. [David] With the stakes so
high, it’s time to get inside an active scam centre. [♪♪] [David] It takes months,
carefully tracing the operations targeting Canadians. And then, a breakthrough. We find an employee willing
to go in with a hidden camera. [David] None of it is true. This is where the sales
pitch meets scare tactics. [David] This scam goes
beyond those fake pop-ups. These criminals have
infiltrated internet search. Look for help online with
your phone or computer. Turns out many of the top sites
you see could actually be a scammer. [David] So our
producer, Nelisha, calls one of them up. [Nelisha] Hi. I’m having some
issues with my computer, and I’m really
hoping you can help me. [David] Within minutes,
the scammer says he needs remote access. [David] He directs us to
download software to help him diagnose the problem. [David] In reality, that
software gives him complete access to absolutely everything
on your computer, photos, banking, even medical files. [Nelisha] What happens next? [David] In just
seconds, he’s connected, and we’re locked out. [David] That’s not
true, and we know it. This computer has
just been cleaned. [Nelisha] How much is
the installation fee? [David] But just a
few moments later, the price has gone up. [David] Before the
price goes up again, it’s time to reveal
who we really are. Well, you’re not going to send
an invoice to us because we’re actually journalists in Canada. We know this is a scam, and I’d
just like to ask you why you do this, why you’re scamming
vulnerable people out of their money? No, you’re not.
No. You’re not doing
anything to this machine. We know this is a scam. We know you’re a scammer. Why do you do this? No, nothing’s free,
and so I would ask you, why do you think you should be
able to steal people’s money for basically nothing? You think I’m wasting
your time. And he’s gone. [David] He doesn’t want
to talk about his crime. But that’s not stopping us. We’re going to try to
find scam centres like his. [♪♪] [David] Our investigations
led us here to India’s capital, home to hundreds of call centres
in buildings like this employing thousands of workers for some
of the biggest tech firms in the entire world. But the big money,
it’s not being made here. That’s just down the road
in fraudulent call centres. [♪♪] So how long did you work in a
tech support scam? More than three years. [David] Puneet Malik
used to scam Canadians. I used to make almost
$3,000 sale every day. That basically means I used to
take out $3,000 from Canadian and United States
nationals’ pockets every day. [David] He says he worked in
this building just outside New Delhi. My pitch used to
start with $200, so that basically means at least
they will be giving $200 dollars if they want
their computer back. And it’s not their fault. It’s not a virus. -You’re lying to them.
-Absolutely. You’re just
trying to scare them. Yeah. It’s literally, you know,
you used a really great word. It’s a scare tactic. You would tell the customer that
if you don’t pay us the money, you will be
losing your computer. Other than that, all
your financial details, your social security number,
that has been stolen already. So if you want your information
to be safe and secure, you have to pay us. [David] He tells us this scam is
much bigger than the one company he worked at. Once the tech scammers have
your personal information, they can sell it on
to other scam centres. So you mean if someone falls
victim to the tech support scam, that’s just the entry level? Then they’re gonna be in
the queue for the next scam, the tax scam, keep going and
keep going and keep going. Absolutely. It’s a chain reaction, you
know, once you are into this, once you are trapped, your
information is out in the open, and that’s in a
whole different country. [David] One big criminal
operation with connections in multiple cities. Selling your data for pennies. They are selling the data. Tech support sales data. And you have inbound leads, that
basically means the people who actually call in, this is
known as a gold mine of data. So these have been past
victims who you’re gonna try to victimize again. This is what it is all
about, and you will be amazed. In less than $1,
they are selling. [David] What’s more,
Puneet confirms scammers have infiltrated search engines, so
their sites show up at the top of the queue. You enter Microsoft Support
Canada because you’re looking for help on your computer,
so you click over here. The very first listing–
Yeah. Scam. Absolutely. [David] Many ways to
scam and many centres too. Now that we know how it
works, it’s time to confront the scammers face to face. [David] Confronting the
scammers on your Marketplace. [♪♪] [David] We’re on the
trail of an insidious racket, the tech support scam. Stealing millions from Canadian
victims run by Indian crime syndicates in
dozens of call centres. In Mumbai, our hidden camera
reveals dozens of workers on the phones using scare tactics to
convince Canadians into paying up. [David] But when some
Canadians don’t fall for it, the callers get
even more aggressive. [David] This operation
has been scamming Canadians for over a year. [David] We’ve had our eyes on
this active centre targeting Canadians for months. [♪♪] It’s amazing to think
it’s right here. [David] We’ve been warned
that the call centre is heavily monitored by security
guards with a history of using violence. Still, there is a narrow window
for us to go in and see if the centre is still scamming. Right here. This is the one
we’ve been watching. The company whose name is at
this address says this is a legitimate operation, but we
know some of the people inside are running a scam. Why do you have a
call centre here? Why do you do this illegally? [David] We wanna
talk to the top bosses. There are real victims. Real victims. These are real people who cannot
afford to lose this money. You’re taking it from them. [David] But no one
here wants to talk to us. At least while we’re
here, they’re off the phones. Anyone wanna say anything? [David] And the
calls stop for now. Nobody?
Okay. Do you have anything you’d say? No?
Okay. [David] We have to get out fast,
but we’re taking our findings to Washington state. [♪♪] [David] That’s where tech giant
Microsoft has been fighting these call centres for years. This is their command centre. In just the past year, clues
unearthed here have led to multiple raids. Thirty call centres raided, 69
arrested in six months in India, all credit to the
Indian law enforcement. We know action is taking place
in Canada and the UK and the US. That helps get at
the money flow, but we need to make sure
we’re tackling this for the sophisticated
criminal network it is. [David] Courtney Gregoire,
chief digital safety officer, leads Microsoft’s
secure digital crimes unit. How big is this? We are seeing losses in the
hundreds and millions and billions of dollars–
-Billions of dollars? When you look at globally. Let me just give
you one statistic. We go out last year, and we
went to a survey in 12 different countries around the globe. We found that two out of three
people had experience with the tech support scam,
two out of three. That says something
about just how big this is. It does.
It truly does. And the reality is, if you’re
thinking about this at the individual consumer level,
you’re losing 200 or 500 dollars here, but those
numbers are chalking up. And the network
behind it is truly criminal in nature
and international in nature. You’ve seen the aftermath of
what these places look like once raids have gone through. Have you ever seen
one in operation? I have not been
present for an operation. -Would you like to?
-I would love to. Okay. We have video from inside an
operation that is running right now. Looking at this script,
it’s playing on the consumer’s fear of technology. This is something
you’ve heard before. Yeah. Quite the serious threat. To see inside and know
that it’s happening, that in some cases they’re using
your company name to do it, you must get mad. You do. It really brings
together the commitment. It’s why our team is so
focused on tackling this scam. We’re mad, but we
just don’t sit mad. We want to take action and go
on the offensive and address these critical issues. [David] This is
your Marketplace. [♪♪] [David] In India, authorities
are struggling to stop a devious scam, fake tech support,
costing victims in Canada millions of dollars. [♪♪] [David] Back in Canada, Nahid
Thilipos says both countries need to work together so people
like her don’t have to pay the price. Who should be trying
to stop these guys? Why don’t the authorities in
Canada and India cooperate together? I don’t know how
they could stop it, but authorities should
do something together, of those countries and
our country as well. [David] We know the RCMP and
Indian police can take action. we’ve seen it in the past. But those calls keep coming, so
what are they doing now to stop the scammers once and for all? Superintendent, David Common.
Good to meet you. Hi, David.
Nice to meet you. [David] We meet up with the head
of the RCMP’s financial crimes unit,
Superintendent Peter Payne. What can you tell me is being
done right now to help combat that tech support scam? We’re collaborating
with our partners, the Indian authorities, other
Five Eyes partners which include the United States,
United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand
on a periphery. We have constant meetings with
union authorities over there talking about not just tech
scams in general but all these scams. You talk about the kinds of
places you want to shut down. We were actually able to
get inside one of them, and I’d like to show
you some video of that. -Good.
-Okay? Let’s take a look here. What does it say that we were
able to get inside a call centre like this, to get
right inside of it, but there aren’t raids going
on against a place like that by RCMP or Indian police? Yeah, no, applaud your
efforts for getting in, but once again, police
alone cannot solve this issue. There’s lots of call
centres over there. What are the kinds of things
that you think of when you hear that? Because on the other line,
the thing we’re not seeing are Canadians, are
people being scammed. It makes me mad. We’ve all received these calls. My best advice is to hang up. Don’t feel threatened. It can get aggressive. Hang up. Call the Canadian
anti-fraud centre. Call your local police agency.
Report it. [David] Unfortunately there
are still people being scammed, and they want the RCMP,
they want federal authorities, they want the
Indian police together, shutting these guys down. And they wonder why
that hasn’t happened yet. We have jurisdictional issues,
so it’s not as simple as us going over there and
making the arrests, impacting the investigations. We need the cooperation
of local authorities, which we have, it’s ongoing. You think you’re making headway. We are. We’re making
headway in this, yes. [David] And yet still
people are getting phone calls, are still facing this
and are being defrauded. Totally.
We can’t stop everything. So disruption of law enforcement
alone can’t conquer this issue. It gets back to
public awareness, education, so the more
aware they are of this, the more they talk to people,
the more it gets out in front of them. Where there’s, like, shows
like yours or the media, that helps the public. What do you say to the scammers
who are over there who think they’re unstoppable? We’re not giving up this battle. We talk about vulnerable people
losing their life savings and losing money. The police are serious about it. [David] If there are limits
to what the authorities can accomplish, this guy is
determined to find another way. So you’re scamming the scammers? Pretty much.
Out of their time, yes. [David] His name is
Kitboga, and he’s a scambaiter. He actually calls the fraudsters
and wastes their time so they can’t waste yours. Why do you do it? When I first started,
I, in a way, was thinking of my grandmother. I knew that if they called
her, if she were still alive, she would’ve fallen for it. And I felt like I wanted
to do something about it. [David] His videos on both
YouTube and gaming site Twitch have generated over
65 million views. Oh, no, no, no.
I have a wig. I always hide myself for a
second to keep the immersion. Oh, yeah, okay.
Oh, yes! Look at that! Of course, I have to
have my grandmother voice. In this one, I can get away
with anything when I talk to the scammers which is
both hilarious and sad. So let’s play an example
here, and we can both watch. You just lied to
me the entire time, didn’t you? I bet you don’t even know how to
remove all of these errors and warnings. Type in your password,
the level, which level technician you are. Oh, my level is over 9000. Do you want me to be
completely honest? I called you 54 minutes ago, and
I knew ahead of time that this was a tech support scam. But I figured, you know what?
I’ll just hope for the best. We’ll see what happens. Maybe they won’t scam me. You’re like a one-man warrior
to take on the criminals. And it’s working. It is really neat to see. Hundreds of people reaching out
and saying I was able to stop my dad from being scammed, or my
grandmother recognized one of the scripts from the video
that you posted on YouTube, and it just– it makes me smile
to think that there’s people who have not fallen for
these scams because of it. How long are you going to
continue doing what you’re doing? I suppose as long as
they’re calling people, I’m going to keep calling them. [David] One solution that
could keep the scammers away, at least for now.

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100 thoughts on “Busting tech support scammers: Undercover in India (Marketplace)

  1. If you get scammed for 3000$ and you are under 50 years old, I don't feel bad for you. I'm laughing at your stupidity.

  2. North India is full of scammers.south is better and honest that's why Google and Microsoft CEO are from south India Chennai and Hyderabad.north India is the text book India . Corruption and open defecation and islamaphobes

  3. The best way to combat this is education. I have saved several people in my area, after I see an ad or website in my area I always warn people on facebook and let my friends know in person. I do it for free and I have also repaired computers for free after such an attack. I secure their computer and then educate them.

  4. If you fall for something like this honestly how did you make it this far in life

    Yeah APPLE is going to make you go to the store and buy a gift card

    Natural selection is gonna take its course

  5. "Law enforcement alone can't conquer this issue" – So I guess we need to take the law into our own hands and infiltrate these areas (which is apparently easy to do), start trashing their computers, put them all into a great big pile, and set it on fire?

  6. 6:00 Did she just unplug the power cord to the LAPTOP? As if that stops anything? LOL. Bruh, it's not a desktop PC you actually did nothing. Please do correct me if I'm wrong, as it could be the ethernet cable, but I'm pretty positive it was a circular plug, and cat 5 cables are NOT round.

  7. Why is there no talk about the technology aspect of it – how to block phone calls coming from outside that seem to be local ? This is cause for many scams, yet no fix by Telecom technology for this simple loophole ?

  8. When "Apple" support ask for payment in gift cards how are you not even sceptical???? Not to mention $3000 to fix $1000 phone. How dumb can you be?

  9. Lots of scammer shops locally too ( insert city name here) . 36 years in this business and the lack of experience, integrity and price gouging I see in this industry makes me sick. I have been an advocate for licensing and regulation like Alberta has for a long time. Minimum journeyman papers to start as a tech should be mandatory.

  10. Simple lesson I had to learn the hard way over and over: never trust a foreigner. Not in a taxi, not in a convenience store, not a "doctor", and definitely not a random voice on the phone.

  11. Team Viewer is a Programm. For getting acsess to a other PC. The person who connect to your PC via Team viewer has acsess to anything on the PC. They dont got any banking Informations till you have them saved anywhere on this pc. You have control over the mouse and Keyboard too. So you can disconnect or Pull the plug

  12. I had that of experienced before, I just hung up the phone after I got the call from one this call centers from India.

  13. The biggest victims are students who go to College and barely know how to use a macbook because these kids don't know how to differentiate a real virus from a scam

  14. This video needs more attention, I have been a victim of stolen information but I did not fall for their IRS scam… TBH I had a blast mocking them, but im not sure that an elderly person would react the same way I did

  15. The poster one of the guys had "whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you" B I T C H P L E A S E

  16. As I’m watching this I get a missed call and a voicemail from “Officer Clark” threatening to have me arrested if I didn’t pay them, the “CRA” $5000 through a wire transfer. They picked the wrong guy cuz I’ve been calling them for the past 1 hour just wasting their time. They finally managed to blocked my number. Here’s the number to watch out for or maybe call them up and waste their time. 3656500464

  17. New windows update should have the inbuilt option for the legit support link. And should mention there is no legit way other than that to get the support.

  18. RCMP guy is full of it! Five eyes actually protecting their own citizens and doing something good?! Sureree. Whatever you say bud.
    Too busy monitoring our communications.
    Nice Kitboga cameo! Should've given Jim Browning a call though.

  19. While I think that these mother fuckers are parasitic I also cannot understand why would you give 3000 to save 500 .

  20. Rogers and bell are quiet aboutthis problem they know these scammers but they dont want to spend money to fix this problem

  21. When he searches for the term `Microsoft tech support canada` you can see that he's searched similar terms and clicked on scam sites before. This leads google to present similar webpages to him in this case, non-official websites.

  22. This doesn't get on the mainstream media, but when the perpetrators are Africans the heavens will fall. This operations in India are in a grander scale with the connivance of security agencies, yet the western media treat them with kid gloves.

  23. Its because you guys bring Indians to Canada and they just pretend they are the best IT experts not saying best IT Scammers in the world.India is name of fraud and

  24. Why the hell would you pay $3,000 to fix a phone that doesn't cost nearly that much? As typical these people desrved to be scammed. Sorry.

  25. I don't think the Indian authorities put much effort into stopping this. I think the US and Canadian military should go in and clean house and pull each of the scammers out of their pathetic cubicles and do a public hanging of each and every one of them to set an example.

  26. Western people should wake up. They can be fooled by this low life. What about there government. Love from asia.

  27. What really pisses me off and makes me wonder why companies haven't pulled out of India is that a lot of the so called legitimate call centre workers double as scammers at night, so in other words they have access to customer records and details from their workplace……

  28. That rcmp superintendent was spineless, useless, twat. “The, uh, best defence is for people to really be aware and take care of it themselves, but be sure to report it after it happened.” Would that response be acceptable from a cop for any other crime? Armed robbery? Assault?

  29. If someone wants to mess around with them you can do it over https://bobrtc.live I do it from time to time just for fun,using old laptop and giving them access just to see what are they trying to do and you can report back on forums on bobrtc.

  30. One thing that I wish would have been mentioned as far as scam baiting is that the am mount of safety precautions people like Kitboga take while scam bating. Like not using their real phone number, not using an actual computer, hiding their real IP address, using firewalls and never giving out personal information.

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