The City of London Police – the force that leads action on cyber fraud – on Saturday welcomed raids conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI in six cities from where 10 companies were defrauding UK nationals on the pretext of offering to fix technical issues on their computers.
The force shared witness statements and other details provided by the victims to the CBI, which raided the companies recently. Joint operations by the London police, Microsoft and Indian police forces have so far led to action against 37 call centres and 88 arrests.
Alex Rothwell of the City of London Police said, “Our ongoing close working relationship with Microsoft and the Indian authorities has led to sustained action against this type of fraud, demonstrating that we can and will seek out criminals wherever they are.
“At the time of the lockdown in India, we saw a sharp decline in reports of Computer Software Service Fraud in the UK, but we know that criminals adapt quickly to continue to try to defraud people.”
Rothwell added, “As more people work from home, the need to prevent fraud of this nature has become more urgent. We welcome this enforcement action on the part of the Central Bureau of Investigation and will support their efforts to bring offenders to justice through the Indian courts.”
The modus operandi of the companies included displaying pop-up messages on the victims’ computers, warning them about serious technical problems with their devices, including the presence of malware infection.
Victims were then advised to call a helpline to gain assistance and were charged a premium fee for the “fix” and “on-going support”. Victims were made to pay this fee online or over the phone, meaning their financial details were shared with criminals.
Some home addresses of people associated with the various companies were also visited, the police said, adding that the CBI is continuing with investigations.