In a big trans-national joint operation by India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and US agencies, an online scam by some from the US and India, who cheated many people by offering technical support. Many people from the US were cheated by India-based call centers by popping up messages that their computers were affected with malware problems and duping them a lot of money for the repair. The CBI has recovered assets worth Rs.190 crores (around 25 million dollars) during its searches against six companies booked for targeting Microsoft customers through a technical support scam, an investigation that has received praise from the United States’ Department of Justice, said CBI officials on Friday. The fraudster from the US was operating from California with his Indian agents.
During its search on September 17, the agency also seized gold worth Rs.55 lakhs, cash totalling Rs.25 lakhs, and a series of digital evidence indicating alleged nefarious activities of the six accused companies, based in Delhi, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, said CBI Spokesperson R K Gaur. The agency is collaborating with US counterparts and authorities of other friendly countries against the fraudsters who allegedly took remote control of computers of users by sending them a pop-up message of malware presence on their systems, Gaur said, detailing the modus operandi in cheating the people in the US.
The Department of Justice sincerely appreciates the CBI’s efforts to disrupt and prosecute technical-support fraud, government imposter fraud, and all other schemes directed at the American public.
Once the user dialed the number given on the pop-up, he was directed at call center executives who demanded huge sums of money to clean the non-existent malware and also installed unnecessary damaging software on the users’ computers, he said. CBI had conducted searches at the premises of accused companies — New Delhi-based Softwill Infotech Private Limited and Saburi TLC Worldwide Services Pvt. Ltd, Jaipur-based Innovana Think labs Limited and Systweak Software Private Limited, Noida-based Benovellient Technologies Private Limited, Noida and Gurugram-based Saburi Global
Services Pvt Ltd.
The searches were spread across various locations including Jaipur, Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Mainpuri (Uttar Pradesh) at the premises of private companies and residential premises of accused persons in an on-going investigation of the case, Gaur said. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement on Thursday that in an “unprecedented collaborative” effort, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India took actions in parallel with today’s filing against corporate and individual participants in the scheme located in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, and Jaipur.
“The Department of Justice sincerely appreciates the CBI’s efforts to disrupt and prosecute technical-support fraud, government imposter fraud, and all other schemes directed at the American public.” Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Civil Division said in a statement in the US.
The US authorities have filed a complaint in a Florida court against the scam on which the court on Thursday has issued a restraining order to dismantle the internet-based infrastructure of the alleged fraudsters. According to the complaint Michael Brian Cotter, 59, of Glendale, California, knowingly provided US support for India-based accomplices in furtherance of the scheme, the DOJ statement said.
The CBI has been making concerted efforts to identify and rapidly dismantle any such network of transnational cyber frauds operated out of India.
“Cotter facilitated the scheme through several companies, including Singapore registered Global Digital Concierge Pte. Ltd., formerly known as Tech Live Connect Pte. Ltd., Nevada registered companies Sensei Ventures Incorporated and NE Labs Inc., New York registered Kevisoft LLC, and United Kingdom registered Kevisoft UK LTD. The temporary restraining order issued by the court today dismantles these defendants’ U.S. Infrastructure, such as websites and payment processing relationships, and prohibits the defendants from continuing to facilitate the alleged scheme,” it said.
The complaint has alleged that Cotter was working with Indian conspirators since 2011 to set up domains, setting up shell companies, and putting in place payment infrastructure through banks and payment operators. “Individual victims are alleged to have reported paying hundreds to thousands of dollars to the scheme for unwanted and unnecessary technical-support services,” it said.
Gaur said similar coordination is being done by the CBI with federal agencies of the other countries. The CBI has been making concerted efforts to identify and rapidly dismantle any such network of transnational cyber frauds operated out of India, he said.
 CBI searches 6 firms over computer tech support fraud, recovers assets worth Rs 190 cr – Oct 16, 2020, Outlook
 CBI, US authorities crack down on fraud scheme targeting elderly people in America – Oct 16, 2020, Economic Times
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