A joint operation by Amazon, Microsoft, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of India has resulted in the arrest of several fraudsters who ran fake tech support call centers.
The scammers, who pretended to be Amazon and Microsoft support agents, would target unsuspecting users with pop-ups that look like security alerts from the two tech-giants. The pop-up would normally contain a toll-free number that users could call to fix the security issue.
Once they got the users on the phone, they would remotely access their computers, show them fake problems, and charge them hundreds of dollars for bogus solutions that weren’t needed in the first place.
According to Amazon, the illegal call centers impacted more than 2,000 Amazon and Microsoft customers, primarily based in the U.S. but also Canada, Australia, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
CBI LAUNCHES OPERATION CHAKRA-II TO COMBAT AND DISMANTLE ORGANIZED CYBER ENABLED FINANCIAL CRIMES;
DURING NATIONWIDE CRACKDOWN, SEARCHES CONDUCTED AT AROUND 76 LOCATIONS; LARGE NUMBER OF DIGITAL GADGETS INCLUDING LAPTOPs, HARD DISC ETC RECOVERED pic.twitter.com/0Jx1DdQ2o9
— Central Bureau of Investigation (India) (@CBIHeadquarters) October 19, 2023
The CBI said it conducted raids at 76 locations across multiple states in India, seizing 32 mobile phones, 48 laptops, hard disks, servers, SIM cards, pen drives, and bank accounts. “CBI also seized a dump of 15 email accounts, illuminating the intricate web of deceit spun by the accused,” reads the CBI’s report.
This is the first time Microsoft and Amazon have joined forces to tackle online scams and tech support fraud. “We are pleased to join forces with Microsoft, and we believe actionable partnerships like these are critical in helping protect consumers from impersonation scams,” said Kathy Sheehan, vice president and associate general counsel, business conduct and ethics at Amazon, in a recent statement.
Elsewhere, Amazon has also joined forces with the likes of Booking.com, Expedia Group, Glassdoor, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot to form the ‘Global Coalition for Trusted Reviews’ to battle fake reviews.
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