Busting tech support scammers: Undercover in India (Marketplace)


[♪♪] [David] We’re secretly recording
a criminal operation targeting Canadians. These scammers in
India don’t know it, but we’re onto them. Over 50 fraudsters in this one
call centre taking control of our computers. [David] And using scare tactics
to demand payment for a computer fix you likely don’t need. [David] It’s called
the tech support scam. [David] From cold calls to fake
pop ups warning you’ve got a virus. [David] Different tactics. Same scam. How much money was
stolen from you? -3,000.
-$3,000. [David] So how did Nahid
Thilipos fall for that scam? Her cell phone stops working, so
she Googles for help and finds a number she thinks is legit. So when the guy
answered, he said, “This is Apple.
What can we do for you?” And I said my problem was
maybe the phone is not– like, there is
something wrong on it. He said, oh, sure,
this is very common. [David] The scammer convinces
her to go to a nearby store and buy a $50 iTunes gift card
to pay for the quick fix. But once she does? He went onto
the phone and he said, there are many
problems on the phone. There are hackers
from Russia, from India, from Brazil. He said all that
about your phone? Yeah. He said it’s a
complicated issue. We need to work on this phone. It has to be minimum $3,000 to
be able to do the transaction. [David] Three grand
to fix her phone? But the scammer
promises a quick refund. When it doesn’t
happen, Nahid calls back. I said, “Where’s my money? “Where’s my money? “Are you the scammers?
Are you thieves?” He then hang up the phone. Then I tried
again, like, 10 times, 12 times.
Nobody want to answer. [David] She’s not alone. [David] In 2018, the tech
support scam cost Canadians nearly $1 million. They’re trying to make
themselves look very legitimate. [David] Former police officer
Ryan Duquette says he’s not surprised. We’ve had
situations where, you know, different ID has been taken
out on people and fake driver’s license and whatnot
going all the way up to, you know, your house being sold. -What?
-Without you knowing. -Yeah, absolutely.
-Your house being sold? Yes. We’ve had situations where a
for sale sign has been posted on somebody’s front yard without
their knowledge of that even happening. So they’ve been able to
steal their identity, take a mortgage out in
their name and whatnot, so it can be pretty scary
when your identity gets stolen. Once they have
control of your computer, is it game over? Once they’re in there, you don’t
know if they’ve installed a backdoor or some
malicious code into your system. So there is a risk here of
losing more than just the money they’re asking for. There’s a risk of losing stuff
that is even more important. Oh, absolutely, yeah. [David] With the stakes so
high, it’s time to get inside an active scam centre. [♪♪] [David] It takes months,
carefully tracing the operations targeting Canadians. And then, a breakthrough. We find an employee willing
to go in with a hidden camera. [David] None of it is true. This is where the sales
pitch meets scare tactics. [David] This scam goes
beyond those fake pop-ups. These criminals have
infiltrated internet search. Look for help online with
your phone or computer. Turns out many of the top sites
you see could actually be a scammer. [David] So our
producer, Nelisha, calls one of them up. [Nelisha] Hi. I’m having some
issues with my computer, and I’m really
hoping you can help me. [David] Within minutes,
the scammer says he needs remote access. [David] He directs us to
download software to help him diagnose the problem. [David] In reality, that
software gives him complete access to absolutely everything
on your computer, photos, banking, even medical files. [Nelisha] What happens next? [David] In just
seconds, he’s connected, and we’re locked out. [David] That’s not
true, and we know it. This computer has
just been cleaned. [Nelisha] How much is
the installation fee? [David] But just a
few moments later, the price has gone up. [David] Before the
price goes up again, it’s time to reveal
who we really are. Well, you’re not going to send
an invoice to us because we’re actually journalists in Canada. We know this is a scam, and I’d
just like to ask you why you do this, why you’re scamming
vulnerable people out of their money? No, you’re not.
No. You’re not doing
anything to this machine. We know this is a scam. We know you’re a scammer. Why do you do this? No, nothing’s free,
and so I would ask you, why do you think you should be
able to steal people’s money for basically nothing? You think I’m wasting
your time. And he’s gone. [David] He doesn’t want
to talk about his crime. But that’s not stopping us. We’re going to try to
find scam centres like his. [♪♪] [David] Our investigations
led us here to India’s capital, home to hundreds of call centres
in buildings like this employing thousands of workers for some
of the biggest tech firms in the entire world. But the big money,
it’s not being made here. That’s just down the road
in fraudulent call centres. [♪♪] So how long did you work in a
tech support scam? More than three years. [David] Puneet Malik
used to scam Canadians. I used to make almost
$3,000 sale every day. That basically means I used to
take out $3,000 from Canadian and United States
nationals’ pockets every day. [David] He says he worked in
this building just outside New Delhi. My pitch used to
start with $200, so that basically means at least
they will be giving $200 dollars if they want
their computer back. And it’s not their fault. It’s not a virus. -You’re lying to them.
-Absolutely. You’re just
trying to scare them. Yeah. It’s literally, you know,
you used a really great word. It’s a scare tactic. You would tell the customer that
if you don’t pay us the money, you will be
losing your computer. Other than that, all
your financial details, your social security number,
that has been stolen already. So if you want your information
to be safe and secure, you have to pay us. [David] He tells us this scam is
much bigger than the one company he worked at. Once the tech scammers have
your personal information, they can sell it on
to other scam centres. So you mean if someone falls
victim to the tech support scam, that’s just the entry level? Then they’re gonna be in
the queue for the next scam, the tax scam, keep going and
keep going and keep going. Absolutely. It’s a chain reaction, you
know, once you are into this, once you are trapped, your
information is out in the open, and that’s in a
whole different country. [David] One big criminal
operation with connections in multiple cities. Selling your data for pennies. They are selling the data. Tech support sales data. And you have inbound leads, that
basically means the people who actually call in, this is
known as a gold mine of data. So these have been past
victims who you’re gonna try to victimize again. This is what it is all
about, and you will be amazed. In less than $1,
they are selling. [David] What’s more,
Puneet confirms scammers have infiltrated search engines, so
their sites show up at the top of the queue. You enter Microsoft Support
Canada because you’re looking for help on your computer,
so you click over here. The very first listing–
Yeah. Scam. Absolutely. [David] Many ways to
scam and many centres too. Now that we know how it
works, it’s time to confront the scammers face to face. [David] Confronting the
scammers on your Marketplace. [♪♪] [David] We’re on the
trail of an insidious racket, the tech support scam. Stealing millions from Canadian
victims run by Indian crime syndicates in
dozens of call centres. In Mumbai, our hidden camera
reveals dozens of workers on the phones using scare tactics to
convince Canadians into paying up. [David] But when some
Canadians don’t fall for it, the callers get
even more aggressive. [David] This operation
has been scamming Canadians for over a year. [David] We’ve had our eyes on
this active centre targeting Canadians for months. [♪♪] It’s amazing to think
it’s right here. [David] We’ve been warned
that the call centre is heavily monitored by security
guards with a history of using violence. Still, there is a narrow window
for us to go in and see if the centre is still scamming. Right here. This is the one
we’ve been watching. The company whose name is at
this address says this is a legitimate operation, but we
know some of the people inside are running a scam. Why do you have a
call centre here? Why do you do this illegally? [David] We wanna
talk to the top bosses. There are real victims. Real victims. These are real people who cannot
afford to lose this money. You’re taking it from them. [David] But no one
here wants to talk to us. At least while we’re
here, they’re off the phones. Anyone wanna say anything? [David] And the
calls stop for now. Nobody?
Okay. Do you have anything you’d say? No?
Okay. [David] We have to get out fast,
but we’re taking our findings to Washington state. [♪♪] [David] That’s where tech giant
Microsoft has been fighting these call centres for years. This is their command centre. In just the past year, clues
unearthed here have led to multiple raids. Thirty call centres raided, 69
arrested in six months in India, all credit to the
Indian law enforcement. We know action is taking place
in Canada and the UK and the US. That helps get at
the money flow, but we need to make sure
we’re tackling this for the sophisticated
criminal network it is. [David] Courtney Gregoire,
chief digital safety officer, leads Microsoft’s
secure digital crimes unit. How big is this? We are seeing losses in the
hundreds and millions and billions of dollars–
-Billions of dollars? When you look at globally. Let me just give
you one statistic. We go out last year, and we
went to a survey in 12 different countries around the globe. We found that two out of three
people had experience with the tech support scam,
two out of three. That says something
about just how big this is. It does.
It truly does. And the reality is, if you’re
thinking about this at the individual consumer level,
you’re losing 200 or 500 dollars here, but those
numbers are chalking up. And the network
behind it is truly criminal in nature
and international in nature. You’ve seen the aftermath of
what these places look like once raids have gone through. Have you ever seen
one in operation? I have not been
present for an operation. -Would you like to?
-I would love to. Okay. We have video from inside an
operation that is running right now. Looking at this script,
it’s playing on the consumer’s fear of technology. This is something
you’ve heard before. Yeah. Quite the serious threat. To see inside and know
that it’s happening, that in some cases they’re using
your company name to do it, you must get mad. You do. It really brings
together the commitment. It’s why our team is so
focused on tackling this scam. We’re mad, but we
just don’t sit mad. We want to take action and go
on the offensive and address these critical issues. [David] This is
your Marketplace. [♪♪] [David] In India, authorities
are struggling to stop a devious scam, fake tech support,
costing victims in Canada millions of dollars. [♪♪] [David] Back in Canada, Nahid
Thilipos says both countries need to work together so people
like her don’t have to pay the price. Who should be trying
to stop these guys? Why don’t the authorities in
Canada and India cooperate together? I don’t know how
they could stop it, but authorities should
do something together, of those countries and
our country as well. [David] We know the RCMP and
Indian police can take action. we’ve seen it in the past. But those calls keep coming, so
what are they doing now to stop the scammers once and for all? Superintendent, David Common.
Good to meet you. Hi, David.
Nice to meet you. [David] We meet up with the head
of the RCMP’s financial crimes unit,
Superintendent Peter Payne. What can you tell me is being
done right now to help combat that tech support scam? We’re collaborating
with our partners, the Indian authorities, other
Five Eyes partners which include the United States,
United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand
on a periphery. We have constant meetings with
union authorities over there talking about not just tech
scams in general but all these scams. You talk about the kinds of
places you want to shut down. We were actually able to
get inside one of them, and I’d like to show
you some video of that. -Good.
-Okay? Let’s take a look here. What does it say that we were
able to get inside a call centre like this, to get
right inside of it, but there aren’t raids going
on against a place like that by RCMP or Indian police? Yeah, no, applaud your
efforts for getting in, but once again, police
alone cannot solve this issue. There’s lots of call
centres over there. What are the kinds of things
that you think of when you hear that? Because on the other line,
the thing we’re not seeing are Canadians, are
people being scammed. It makes me mad. We’ve all received these calls. My best advice is to hang up. Don’t feel threatened. It can get aggressive. Hang up. Call the Canadian
anti-fraud centre. Call your local police agency.
Report it. [David] Unfortunately there
are still people being scammed, and they want the RCMP,
they want federal authorities, they want the
Indian police together, shutting these guys down. And they wonder why
that hasn’t happened yet. We have jurisdictional issues,
so it’s not as simple as us going over there and
making the arrests, impacting the investigations. We need the cooperation
of local authorities, which we have, it’s ongoing. You think you’re making headway. We are. We’re making
headway in this, yes. [David] And yet still
people are getting phone calls, are still facing this
and are being defrauded. Totally.
We can’t stop everything. So disruption of law enforcement
alone can’t conquer this issue. It gets back to
public awareness, education, so the more
aware they are of this, the more they talk to people,
the more it gets out in front of them. Where there’s, like, shows
like yours or the media, that helps the public. What do you say to the scammers
who are over there who think they’re unstoppable? We’re not giving up this battle. We talk about vulnerable people
losing their life savings and losing money. The police are serious about it. [David] If there are limits
to what the authorities can accomplish, this guy is
determined to find another way. So you’re scamming the scammers? Pretty much.
Out of their time, yes. [David] His name is
Kitboga, and he’s a scambaiter. He actually calls the fraudsters
and wastes their time so they can’t waste yours. Why do you do it? When I first started,
I, in a way, was thinking of my grandmother. I knew that if they called
her, if she were still alive, she would’ve fallen for it. And I felt like I wanted
to do something about it. [David] His videos on both
YouTube and gaming site Twitch have generated over
65 million views. Oh, no, no, no.
I have a wig. I always hide myself for a
second to keep the immersion. Oh, yeah, okay.
Oh, yes! Look at that! Of course, I have to
have my grandmother voice. In this one, I can get away
with anything when I talk to the scammers which is
both hilarious and sad. So let’s play an example
here, and we can both watch. You just lied to
me the entire time, didn’t you? I bet you don’t even know how to
remove all of these errors and warnings. Type in your password,
the level, which level technician you are. Oh, my level is over 9000. Do you want me to be
completely honest? I called you 54 minutes ago, and
I knew ahead of time that this was a tech support scam. But I figured, you know what?
I’ll just hope for the best. We’ll see what happens. Maybe they won’t scam me. You’re like a one-man warrior
to take on the criminals. And it’s working. It is really neat to see. Hundreds of people reaching out
and saying I was able to stop my dad from being scammed, or my
grandmother recognized one of the scripts from the video
that you posted on YouTube, and it just– it makes me smile
to think that there’s people who have not fallen for
these scams because of it. How long are you going to
continue doing what you’re doing? I suppose as long as
they’re calling people, I’m going to keep calling them. [David] One solution that
could keep the scammers away, at least for now.

85 Replies to “Busting tech support scammers: Undercover in India (Marketplace)”

  1. CBC please take note, Marketplace is the best example of journalism you have, now put ALL THE MONEY and ALL THE FUNDING in content like this please

  2. Collaborating with the corrupt Indian police authorities who are no doubt getting kickbacks from these crime operators. India is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, a joke of a democracy

  3. Thanks for protecting us RCMP pffft. Can't find two boys… looks like with need a purge of the department, where's the good cops?

  4. The illlusion of cyber security is the biggest scam. Internet providers, hardware manufacturers , financial services and governments are all aware of this but only give lip service to the epidemic. You are on your own.

  5. Puneet Malik has admitted to committing fraud against Canadians and Americans. So why hasn’t Canadian and American authorities arrested him and others like him? (7:16)

  6. "Have you let anyone use your identity without your authorization?"

    India is famous for scammers and public defecation.

  7. I had someone calling me claiming to be Bell. Told me there has been some fraudulent activity on my computer. I laughed and hung up. Called me back and asked why I hung up and I told him I knew it was a scam. Told him I didn't have computer service with Bell. Then I told him I didn't even have a computer. "Oh you don't?" Told him no, then complete silence, then he hung up. Lol
    Hadn't gotten any calls from them since. Although recently I've been getting hang-ups.

  8. I fell victim to this when I was younger. Time has taught me to NEVER EVER EVER trust anyone with this type of accent. It’s an INSTANT red flag!!! I’m from Texas myself.

  9. I can't believe how so many people fall to these Indian scammers.

    And not to mention get scared by them with such an accent

  10. There is a huge online community of Scam Baiters on Youtube who deliberately call scammers and waste their time so they can't be scamming anyone during that time. Thank you CBC for doing this and getting the word out there about these scammers. These scammers also do CRA scams in Canada, as well as IRS & SS scams in the US and they get VERY aggressive on those kinds of scams – threatening police action and jail time.

  11. I saw that report on the CBC 👍🏽 at 8PM and I watched it again on the «CBC News» YouTube channel 👍🏽 Thank You for including "Kitboga" in your report, he is my first «Scammerbuster», followed by "irlROSIE" and "Trilogy Media".

  12. If the CBC were so hard-hitting, they would interview google and ask them why they can so easily manipulate search results against conservatives but don't do anything against the scammer sites coming in at the top of the page.

  13. This man scams these scammers for a living. Check him out. Not only is it entertaining but also educational! https://www.twitch.tv/kitboga/videos

    Edit: Ha! He's actually featured in this story! Right on 😀

  14. Lol "mam, to fix your phone that won't turn on, you just need to buy a gift card and it'll magically turn on 😂" 🤦🏼‍♀️🤷

  15. Kitboga, is a great public education YT channel against these crimes. Jim Browning is doing really good work too!

  16. I figured something must have been going on because I haven't gotten any tech support scam calls all week. Normally get around 2 a day. This must be the reason. They're backing off because they're drawing too much media attention – they know if they don't the governments will put them outa business permanently.
    I expect they'll be back at it soon.
    But, I'm still getting those "lower/0% interest rate" scam calls… Oh well.

  17. LMAO. I have had these people call me 3 times over the years. I love it when they do. I always mess with them until they get pissed. Its funny as hell.

  18. Still find it funny when the scammer masquerades as the federal government… calling a military mobile phone (OOPS.. my work number clearly didn't make their blacklist and I happen to be the local IT/IS security officer). Wish I recorded the call but I essentially trolled them starting with the standard canned "hello/bonjour" inbound Canada salutation followed by that I would be more than happy to pass their concerns about my work computer to SSC for RCMP action… it didn't take long before the scammer went into a full fit complete with a healthy dose of expletives and vitriol, hard Indian accent of course, bringing great satisfaction to this sailor's ears. I played that tune until the line went dead to a dial tone 🙂

  19. These guys can fund a trip to India to sniff out illegal activities but can't use any of their Ill gotten tax dollars to sniff out corruption properly in Ottawa lol

  20. They use an old version of teamview new versions block connection from India. Kudos to team view and
    good job CBC market place for exposing this dirty scam.

  21. Were is scammer revolt? We need a scammer to get a scammer. if you dont know scammer revolt is he lets the scammer into his compter then he reverse hacks their commputer deletes their files and locks thier computer you should check it out ots funny

  22. These criminals defame our country and must be stopped. Many of these scams have been busted by our police in recent months but I hope more are stopped. Love from India and sincere apologies for the inconveniences caused by these frauds.

  23. I was targeted by this tactic when I used Google to search for support. I find that asking them what company they represent gets them into highly offended, conceal mode. No legitimate tech support will conceal what company they work for, it should be a matter of pride. If you ask and they demand apologies, get angry, or start deflecting, you know the gig is up.

    As a Canadian I prefer the precise brush of reason and logic, rather than the broad strokes of racism.

  24. I'm sorry, but there is nothing less threatening than someone calling from that particular continent telling me they will do something to my or my computer.

    I would also say "$299 for you to download software on to my computer and fix it? It will take me 1-2 hours of hard work to make that money back, I'll just order a new one and have one of my butlers pick it up on the way home from doing my banking."

    Either that or bargain with them for cheaper. "I'm unemployed right now, how about $10??" "Can I send you an IOU?, I'm good for it". "I'm on welfare so I can sign over a portion of my government cheque after they deduct my car payments, living expenses, health care, food, clothing , entertainment" and trip costs."

  25. So rediculous, how can a scammed list your home? The Realtor basically faked the buyer representation and dint do Fintrack so they are committing fraud. Even a mortgage has to be approved by a lender and they also has to varify identity and the lawyer does as well.

  26. the goverment just doesn't wan to spend the money on catch the little man when i fact that might all me their is ahaha but if their isn't they just want to take down the big guy so they can all save money

  27. Those scoundrel unscrupulous Indian IT guys misuse their expertise and skills to scam people money, instead of improving lives by their technological know-how. Shame on them.

  28. You did get inside the scam center. This is good information about scam that goes on. There are lots of other scambaiter calling scammers making them mad as well.

  29. Very important story for everyone, not just Canada. Loved the segment with Kitboga. I watch him all the time. He is amazing. He just hit a record of over 30 hours of air time with one group of two or three scammers. It's still ongoing because they have called him back thousands of times, on and off the air, wasting their own time trying to steal from his grandma character. The biggest benefit though is, that by sharing his videos and content, he helps save people from becoming victims. Not going to lie, it's entertaining, addicting, and satisfying to watch him work.

  30. I never get scammed, however, I can see myself being scammed when I am old. The brain fades.
    For PC or smartphone I suggest good anti-malware software, the two leading are BitDefender and Kaspersky.

  31. As long as there is no extensive criminal cooperation, the scam makes soooo much money that scammers won't stop anytime soon

  32. One scammer keeps calling me several times per week on my phone that is set only to take messages. After the "Please leave a message after the beep" is finished, the crazy guy keeps saying things like "Hello…..Hello…..Hello……Is anybody there ?……Your computer is infected…….Hello ?".

  33. I just found out something else about how the Trudeau govt is saying about giving 2000 thousand dollars for camping but who want to rely on the govt for holidays, then they own you Evan more and the next time will tell you were you can go and not go, he is bringing in a socialist govt, that is just part and he is using tax payers money, sorry debt money, he already own the media, now the TV news media in his plane just asking for 125 K for expensive ,they got it but he keeps spending so much in debt and people that works and pay tax, for so many things, because he want to own you, and have to rely on everything from the govt, like the taxes will be so high to do anything you will have to go to the govt, and he is the dictator like in Venezuela, please don't let him own you he already owns the media, plus he gives Toronto star 115k a week and now he can tell the company what to do and for some reason these people don't see it, plus the money does run out, then they stop giving so much then the lay offs come, do you think he is going to give the TV news media any money after the election , no he is tricking so many please see what is going on, the only media will be the cbc that is there agenda

  34. Welp, we're sorry guys
    Police can't do anything either cause there are a lot of scam offices like these, and there are a lot of big issues like murder,robbery etc
    The unployment rate is high, so these kind of work keeps them employed
    Making people aware of these scammers is the only way to get rid of them

  35. Microsoft is full of BS about taking security serious.

    Next impossible to change passwords. Also Microsoft had a security breach this year.

  36. FBI Agent Frank Gasper has been ringing the alarm bells about Jamaica Call Centers put in by the IMF backroom deal makers. Since day one it took off and running as a global crime wave. Because of it's tax free status most if not all Canadian Corporations route their customer business through Jamaica.
    CBC won't report on that as India is a enemy of the Liberals and Jamaica plays by the tax free no questions asked unspoken corruption rules.

  37. OMG. this is exactly what happened to me about 6 yrs ago. I googled the phone number for tech support. I allowed the scammers access to my computer. They told me I had a virus. It was going to cost me $xx.xx to fix. I told them I'll think about it. I researched and found out this was a new scam. They called back. I told them there was no computer. He yelled, "that's not possible!". I ended the call and now get a variety of scam calls pretending to be a variety of things…from your loved one has been in an accident, When I asked the name, they couldn't provide it. I hung up. More scam calls every day. I often wondered if Canada was receiving these scam calls as we are in the states.

  38. I work with the CBI Cyber crime cell…..so far we've uncovered more than 148 scam centers and most of the owners are in jail…..What we have come to know is that most of the owners are Non-residential indians living abroad. In case of Canadian scams its mostly initiated by the large punjabi population living there….Indian judiciary is very complex and since most of the owners are living abroad its very hard to provide logical evidence to the court.

  39. You gotta give it up to the journalist for going into the call center and calling them out. There are some really nasty people running these scams and he was lucky to get out alive. Keep in mind there is a lot of corruption in India and they are also scared of them.

  40. These scam baiters are doing a we some job giving it back to them. When they call me I do waste their time but I am not anywhere as good as kit and the others. They also get triggered big time and will curse you up when they know they are getting nothing. Waste their time guys. Even if it only helps one person it does make a difference.

  41. for those have computer problem a nearby computers store is for in the first place. a computers need to be clean / backup reformat every 3 years. a phone need to be wipe once every 2 years call log and etc.

  42. This is an ongoing issue for quite some time. I work at a Best Buy store and we all educate consumers on gift card scams. Every month we encounter a few people who come and try to buy 10 or 15 Steam, google play, xbox or ps4 gift cards not knowing that they are being scammed.

  43. We too have tech support scam on our home turf! We keep on getting such calls from "<Telecommunications Company>" many times. I feed sorry many innocent people being scammed.

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