City of London Police shut down fraudulent Indian call centres

Two Indian call centres that were instrumental in defrauding thousands of victims in the UK and beyond have been shut down following an operation conducted by City of London Police and Microsoft, in cooperation with local authorities.

Oct 23, 2019
By Tony Thompson
Commander Karen Baxter

The call centres based in Kolkata were raided by 50 officers from the cyber division of the local police department on October 17 and seven arrests were made.

The fraudsters were calling members of the public, claiming to be from Microsoft and that their computer security had been compromised. The criminals would then either sell a worthless piece of software for around £200 or dupe the victim into allowing access to their computer and any online bank accounts, which they would then drain.

Impersonation fraud cases are becoming more prevalent but it is believed to be under-reported by at least 60 per cent.

In the 12 months to April 2019, City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) received over 23,500 complaints of this form of fraud. Reported financial losses in the same period were in excess of £9 million per year.

Commander Karen Baxter of City of London Police, national coordinator for economic crime, said: “These raids and arrests mark the successful culmination of a four-year operation. Working with Indian authorities and Microsoft, we have stopped a number of criminal call centres from preying on UK citizens.

“Make no mistake: these companies are the preserve of unscrupulous criminals who will stop at nothing to bleed their victims dry. They are very convincing, tenacious and have developed sophisticated systems in an effort to elude capture.

“This operation with Indian counterparts and Microsoft, whose good name was being traduced, demonstrates that whilst policing cannot hope to tackle fraud on its own, by working in partnership with businesses, we can achieve some justice for the members of the public who have fallen victim to such schemes.”

Hugh Milward, Head of Corporate and Legal Affairs at Microsoft UK, said: “This sort of deception will not go away and effective public/private partnerships are essential if we are to combat sophisticated cyber criminals who operate on a global scale. We are working with law enforcement, here in the UK and internationally, to tackle these crimes and these arrests are a great result for people who have been targeted by or fallen victim to these fraudsters.”

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