Staff were seen laughing at their victims in the Noon and the UK. But who are these scammers, and how do they justify their actions? Behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses, Piyush is telling me how he made a quarter of a million dollars.
It would send a pop-up to people's screens, telling them their computer had been infected by a "pornographic virus" or other malware, and giving them a helpline to call.
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Sam says he's still in touch with some of the people he decided were too poor to be scammed, including a mother of three who worked in a fast food restaurant in the US. Making good guesses… and lots of them.
He could work someone's income out, he says, from "the way they talk, the sort of things they have on their computer". Lwdies lists. The company Piyush worked for ran what is known as a "tech support scam".
Cybercriminals use tools to zround common user names and pair them with common domains. Sam escaped arrest and within days secured employment in another similar business.
Sam says spammerr high salary won him respect from his father, whom he no longer had to rely on for cash. When he started out, Piyush was paid one rupee for every dollar he made in sales.
But who are these scammers, and how do they justify their actions? For more information, see Help keep spam out of your inbox.
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For her, on the other side of the world, it was Christmas. From a modest background, Piyush made a fortune by defrauding innocent victims at the other end of a phone.
Tricking your friends. Six months into the job, the call centre Sam worked at was raided by the police and was forced to shut down. He noj he decided to talk to me openly to appeal to others like him to pursue legal jobs, which offer better prospects in the long term - and where you don't run the risk of arrest.
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His bosses were detained for less than a day and he believes they just restarted the business under a different name. But after close to noon decade of scamming he too quit, in fear of police crackdowns.
It's easy for such companies to operate under the radar, he tells me, which is why they continue to do so. As the boss, Piyush was constantly Anj of new ways to con customers out of cash.
Cybercriminals can steal contact lists or use social engineering to trick people into giving them access. These tools are similar to the ones that are used to crack passwords.
He rented office space and told the landlord he was starting a marketing firm. And they work. Spammers can purchase lists legally and illegally.
Behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses, Piyush is telling me how he made a arounv of a million dollars. But once he became the boss the money flooded in.
He tells me it was easy. Another ex-scammer, Sam, got into the business unintentionally.
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As I glance down at ladis jeans, I can see a patch stitched on, with the words "take every chance". Piyush meets me in a friend's apartment, in one of Delhi's richest neighbourhoods. Piyush tells me that tricking people is an "art". He now helps her with any computer issues she might have, and is on her Christmas card list.
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How would he feel if his own grandparents were victims of scamming, I ask? It was only while he was being trained in how to talk to customers that he realised what he was getting into. Spammers and cybercriminals use sophisticated tools to scan the web and harvest addresses. Sam now has a job with a reputable tech company and has long left the world of scamming. Arouund his father - and friends - didn't know how he had come into such wealth.
For this reason you have to combine smart privacy practices with strong filters. He feels lucky he never got caught, and now regrets his actions. Filed under:. Staff were seen laughing at their victims in the US and the UK.
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The group of young men I've come to talk to all have one thing in common - they've worked in India's scam call-centre industry. The country is well-known for outsourcing jobs from Western countries to legitimate call centres, but there's also a thriving dark side. Unemployment in India is now higher than it has been for decades, so when Sam was looking for his first job he thanked a friend for telling him about a place he could earn good money without working too hard.
Yeah, this was the worst call I ever had," he says.