Indian officials, in collaboration with Amazon and Microsoft, have conducted raids on 76 locations across 12 Indian states as part of a crackdown on tech support scam calls. The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) announced the operation, named Chakra-II, in an effort to combat and dismantle finance-related cybercrime. These raids targeted suspected illegal call centers involved in scams where individuals impersonate employees of reputable companies such as Microsoft and Amazon.
The scams primarily target Americans, with over 2,000 people impacted, but other countries including Canada, Australia, the UK, Germany, and Spain have also been affected. Law enforcement seized 32 phones, 48 laptops and hard discs, and 33 SIM cards during the raids. Additionally, several bank accounts were frozen. The locations raided were spread across Indian states including Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
According to the FBI, tech and customer support scams affected over 32,000 people in 2022, resulting in losses exceeding $800 million. Amazon has implemented a “zero tolerance” policy towards scammers pretending to be associated with the company. They have taken down more than 20,000 phishing websites and 10,000 phone numbers linked to fraudulent activities.
It is worth noting that elderly individuals are often targeted, with 69% of victims being 60 years or older, as reported by the FBI. To avoid falling victim to such scams, individuals are advised to be aware of warning signs, such as suspicious phone calls, phishing emails, or text messages. Microsoft Security’s Doug Thomas emphasized that reputable tech companies like Microsoft will never contact users via phone, email, or text to report device issues. Additionally, legitimate pop-up messages from reputable companies will not include phone numbers for users to call for assistance.
Amazon encourages anyone who suspects they are being scammed to report the activity through their dedicated channels, such as amazon.com/reportascam or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.