Money & Banking

CBI, US authorities crack down on technical support fraud scheme

New Delhi | Updated on October 16, 2020 Published on October 16, 2020

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has unearthed bank deposits worth ₹190 crore, ₹25 lakh in cash and gold worth ₹55 lakh in connection with the malware and pop-up technical support fraud scheme.

A CBI statement said that these recoveries were made during searches conducted recently at various locations, including Jaipur, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, Faridabad and Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh). A case has been registered on a complaint against six private companies based at New Delhi, Jaipur, Noida and Gurugram, and unknown persons alleged to be involved in the fraud scheme.

“It was alleged that these companies would contact the victims through internet pop-up messages that falsely appeared to be security alerts from Microsoft or another well-known company. The pop-up messages fraudulently claimed that the consumer’s computer was infected by a virus. It would then run a scan on the consumer’s computer, falsely confirming the presence of a virus and malware,” said a CBI statement.

“A toll-free number would be given, where the victim will contact, and the call would land up in their call centres. These companies would then take remote access of the victim’s computer and convince the victim of the presence of non-existing problems and make them pay hundreds of dollars for unnecessary services and software. Many of these irrelevant software were also developed by the companies and are under investigation,” the CBI added.

The companies identified by the CBI are: Softwill Infotech, Innovana Thinklabs, Benovellient Technologies, Systweak Software, Saburi TLC Worldwide Services, and Saburi Global Services.

In an unprecedented development, the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) and CBI have collaborated in this regard, and on Thursday, the US Federal court ordered an individual and these five companies to stop engaging in fraud scheme that is alleged to have defrauded hundreds of elderly and vulnerable US victims.

“According to USDOJ, Michael Brian Cotter of Glendale, California, knowingly provided US support for India-based accomplices in furtherance of the fraud. The said person facilitated the scheme through several companies, including at Singapore,” the CBI said.

“The temporary restraining order issued by the US court dismantles these defendants’ US infrastructure, such as websites and payment processing relationships, and prohibits the defendants from continuing to facilitate the alleged scheme,” the CBI added.

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Published on October 16, 2020
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