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How scammer call centres are working and making money in 2021

A comprehensive article showing the types of call centre scams, tactics employed by them, and money was stolen.

Published: August 16, 2021 By Hamna Imran

Title image for How scammer call centers are working and making money in 2021

Image source - Shutterstock

According to a new report from True caller, nearly 59.4 million Americans lost their hard-earned money to phone scams in 2020. In Addition, it has been found in the report which was undertaken in partnership with The Harris Poll in March that 19% were scammed twice.

Due to technology, it is now a piece of cake for scammers to make millions of calls a day. These scammers pretend to be a part of the government, computer companies, banks, and retailers. Once you know how scammers work? You will know how to spot a scam, and you will be careful when someone asks you to pay. So keep reading.

 

Beware! Impostors are everywhere

Any scam can happen over the phone. Federal Trade Commission enlists scams based on reports from affected people. The fraudsters fake represent Social Security Administration, Medicare, and IRS, Apple Computer or Amazon support calls, auto warranty, and credit card calls.

It is an absolute necessity for people to get information about the angles these con artists use.

Tech support fraudsters

Tech support scammers operate by cashing a self-inflicted pain. This scam has been the “most prevalent in previous decade”. They fool you into buying tech support services you don't need to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

Most frequently starting with a pop-up message that tells them their machine has been compromised, and the only way to save it is to call the number apparently from a Well-known tech company such as McAfee, Microsoft, or Apple.

The calling person recites a rote learned script, asking the panicking caller for remote access to their computer and pressurizes the scammed person to pay for it. Once connected, they present regular files as deadly threats to scare people.

But the truth is, these big giants won't contact anybody out of the blue about their device issues; it's simply impractical.

One of the many phone scams; Technical support scam

 Image source – ftc.org

Even if you have an urgent task to do, do put the laptop aside. Do not call the number. Real companies and security warnings and messages never ask the customer to call. Federal prosecutors pronounced earlier this year that Americans have been through a flood of robocalls over the past several years, with most of them originating from abroad.

India is notorious for breeding scammers who have looted American and British residents.

Around $1.5bn American dollars are lost to tech-support scams every year, with 86% of these calls originating in India.

One of the many scam call centres was raided by police a few months back, following a BBC investigation.

An infographic elaborating the tactics employed by tech-support scammers

 Image source – ftc.org

The Department of Justice has filed cases against E-commerce National LLC and Global Voice.com as they allowed a huge number of robocalls to be carried. According to the complaint, the owners/operators of E-commerce National allegedly carried 720 million calls during 23 days, and that more than 425 million of those calls lasted less than one second, indicating that they were robocalls. Further, it was stated in the complaint that most of those 720 million calls used spoofing.

Social security administration scam

The Social Security Administration (SSA) scam is the government impersonation number one scam reported to the FTC right now.

Scammers take advantage of your blind trust in government authorities by pretending to be employed at a government agency like Social Security Administration or Internal Revenue Service. Scammers may lie that due to a name change, your tax return needs to be prepared differently, and they need your Social Security number to fix the problem. The scammers only want the personal information that they can use to steal your identity or take your money.

I just received the following text -the link is a google doc form to fill out. I’m assuming this is a scam, yes?

“You have qualified for IRS American Rescue Act 2021 additional $1,400. Claim Here: // t.co /PwW0g505Yj”

says a friend who received the same message.

Scam text receiver

Debt relief and credit repair scams

Scammers offer to lower credit card interest rates, fixing of credit providing student loans if you pay their company a fee first. On accepting the offer, you will lose your money and end up destroying your credit. Credit card security might not be as strong as you expect it to be.

Business and investment scams

Callers could fake promise to assist you in starting your own business and give your business coaching or guarantee huge profits from an investment. Don’t believe them.

Charity scams

Scammers often pretend to be charities. Scammers request donations in a convincing tone, apparently for disaster relief purposes. Always inquire about the details, and don't be pressured into taking a decision you will regret later.

Extended car warranties

Scammers urge you to buy overpriced and worthless service contracts after finding out what kind of car you drive and the year of its making.

Prize and lottery scams

In a prize scam, the scammers will lie that you have won a prize, but shipping charges, registration fees, or taxes have to be paid to get it. Perhaps after paying, you will find that there is no prize. Even if they say you are “selected” for an offer or that you’ve won a lottery. Know that if you have to pay to get the prize, it's not a prize.

Loan scams

Loan scams offer loans with advance fees. On targeting people with poor credit history, these scammers steal money. No Legitimate lender makes guarantees like that, especially if you have bad credit, no credit, or a bankruptcy.

Call center

Image source – propakistani.com


Don't send them money!

Scammers employ several ways of getting money which include wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card, or cash reload card or using a money transfer app because they know those types of payments are more or less irreversible.

Wiring money is almost like sending cash. You will not get the money back.

Gift cards are yet another convenient and fast way these deceivers opt for. Here is how it works. Same people call saying there is some emergency; they tell you to go to a store and place money on a gift card like iTunes or cash reload card. Sometimes the scammer will continue the call while you head to the store to make sure you don’t change your mind. Once your money is loaded on the card, they will ask for the card's registration number so they can take the cash right away, and you are left empty-handed.

So now you know, if anyone ever tells you to wire money or pay them with a gift card or cash reload card, that is a scam. No matter how urgent it seems or who they say they are, Stop get off the phone. Talk to someone and tell FTC.

These criminals are incredibly clever in the way that they manipulate people.

CoolTechZone

Money lost to scam calls in the United States 2014-2020

Image source – TrueCaller

United States’ residents have alone borne a total loss of about 19.7 billion US. Dollars due to scam calls in 2020. According to an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll, the amount of money lost by Americans in 2020 surpassed that lost in 2019 with 9.2 billion US. Dollars.

I was making three times more money than an MBA graduate.

says ex-scammer at BBC

In the past 12 months, 59.4 million Americans fell victim to phone scams alone.

The true caller claimed this was the highest number recorded since they started researching scam and spam calls in the US 7 years ago.


The best defence is a good offence

Hang up and don’t respond to them.

Someone claiming to be from the government called me daily, offering to assist me in the Medicare process. It is in my knowledge that they do not call unsolicited! They knew my name only and tried to fool me into giving out my date of birth. The same lady kept on calling every time with different numbers. I blocked each one and reported to FCC .

These dark tricksters can easily fake a name or number showing up on caller ID to trick you.


How to identify?

Even most evil criminals leave some mark behind. So these con artists can be identified too. You just need to pay attention.

Calls, messages, who got time for it

Scammers will ask you for money or information via phone calls, emails or text messages, but the Government, McAfee, or Microsoft will not. It’s simply impractical.

Everything can be faked

Even if caller ID shows a government number, it may be a scam. Anybody from All over the world can fake a call number. They might claim to be "Social Security Administration". Don't be threatened; you are not getting arrested. It's all “FAKE”.

Be scared and bring me money

Scammers feed on people’s fear. Those impersonating law enforcement agencies or federal agencies may say that if you do not pay taxes or other debts immediately, you will be arrested, fined or deported. They will scare you and make you pay. But the real federal and law enforcement agencies will not call you and threaten you. You don't have to choose now.

Why in such a hurry?

Most reputable companies will give you time to reconsider your offer. Take your time before agreeing. Don't force a decision on the spot.

Legit is not greedy!

Your social security number will not be blocked. There is no need to verify your number with someone who unexpectedly calls and tells you your bank account will be frozen. A legitimate company or government will never call asking you to transfer money, send cash, or add funds to a gift card.

Do not give out your information

Do not disclose your details. Do not provide any part of your bank account or credit card number. If they call you and say they have social security and you owe money. Ask them for your social security number, and they will hang up. If you have shared the password, change it to a strong one.


What To Do If You Already Paid a Scammer?

The clever tactic that scammers apply is asking for money in ways that are hard to be reversed, But now that you have handed the money to scammers, you should act immediately.

If you allowed fraudsters to access your computer remotely, please update your computer’s security software. Then run a scan and delete important stuff from your computer.

If you used a credit or debit card to pay a scammer, you could stop the transaction. Contact the bank without any further delay. Apprise them of the situation and ask for cancellation.

If you sent money via a gift card, cash reload card or prepaid card. Contact the card company. Again tell them about the scammer and ask for the money.

In case you used a money order to pay, either through Western Union or Money Gram, Contact the company to report the scam. Money Gram at (1-800-666-3947), Western Union at (1-800-325-6000)

Ask for the wire transfer to be reversed. It might not happen, but it's vital to ask.

If you took the services of a money transfer app, contact the company behind the app. Just in case your credit card or debit card is linked to the app, contact your credit card company or bank first.


Conclusion

As soon as regulators or businesses discover a new anti-fraud solution, put in a firewall, or develop some sort of new anti-malware software, the criminals get to grips with them. They’re not going to give up.

Your family, neighbours, or colleagues have probably been scammed at least once or twice. They may not tell you, but statistics do. So it is inevitable that people start communicating about scams to make these vile people unsuccessful in their aims and protect themselves and their loved ones.

Comment below for questions.

Author
Hamna Imran
Cyber Security student and keen learner, writing articles for several other websites.

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