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Kolkata Call Centres Defrauding UK Citizens Shut In Joint Operation

Fraudsters called people, claiming to be from Microsoft, saying that their computer security had been compromised. They would either then 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.

LONDON – Two Kolkata-based call centres instrumental in defrauding thousands of Britons in the guise of offering computer security software have been closed following a crackdown by British and Indian police with software major Microsoft.

The City of London Police said on Monday that the call centres were raided by 50 officers from the cyber division of the Kolkata Police on October 17, and seven people were arrested. The amount defrauded runs into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Fraudsters called people, claiming to be from Microsoft, saying that their computer security had been compromised. They would either then 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.

The police believe this crime is under-reported by 60 per cent.

Commander Karen Baxter 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,” she added.

The police said impersonation fraud is one of the most prevalent types of fraud. In the 12 months to April 2019, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau received over 23,500 complaints of this form of fraud. Reported losses in the same period were in excess of £9 million.

Hugh Milward of 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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