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Inside Kolkata: The Scam Capital of The World

Inside Kolkata: The Scam Capital of The World

Sector V (City of Joy) District of Salt Lake City in Kolkata might not be the ideal vacation destination for visitors in India. However, it hosts scammers who are too familiar to many people in the UK, US, Canada, and Australia.

Inside Kolkata The Scam Capital of The World

Inside Kolkata The Scam Capital of The World

These cybercriminals lure their victims by pretending to be calling from the tax office, bank, Internet provider, or package delivery company. Their primary goal is to gain access to your personal details and bleed you dry.

For a long time, these criminals have just been voices on the phone with faces and names. But recently, Daily Mail exposed them, and surprisingly, they have real and organised offices. In fact, last month, the Indian Police shut down five call centres in Sector V, each boasting 100+ staff.

Every day these employees commute to Sector V with other legitimate business people. What’s more, they rock business clothing, carry briefcases, and arrive at unassuming buildings within the area. Here they own desks, where they sit and carry out their 9-hour shift of cold calling victims across the globe.


50% of The World’s Scam Calls Can Be Traced Back to Kolkata

According to Jim Browning, a scam crusader, nearly 50% of Global scam calls can be tracked down to a few bland tower blocks in the capital of West Bengal. The small area hosts upwards of 100 scam call centres. Though it might be only a few kilometres in diameter, if it shutdowns, about half of the scam calls throughout the world might cease.

When officers from the Bidhannagar Cyber Crime department stormed an office block on the 4th floor of the Meridian Building in Sector V in early June, they discovered hundreds of people practising the devastating trade that leaves the vulnerable trusting with nothing.

The employees clustered behind small desks called people in Australian, American, and European countries, intending to scare them into sharing their financial and personal details and making instant payments to prevent imminent issues.

Some promise unsuspecting victims tech support or quick internet service, assuring them they’re from a legitimate business and only trying to help. Others pose as officials of renowned mobile app or software companies to install screen-sharing software on their victim’s devices. As such, they can hack into their bank accounts and wipe them clean.

Most of the high-ranking staff members arrested during the raid were aged between 21 and 36 years and were the brains behind the lucrative business.


Over 53 People Have Been Arrested

Since May 9th, police have busted about five call centres in Kolkata and taken 53 scammers in custody. Cybercriminals from the region target over 60 million individuals worldwide and steal over $20 million from their victims.

Despite being one of India’s cultural hubs and the third largest city, Kolkata residents don’t enjoy the best living conditions. Also, the city faces a house supply shortage.

Sector V is arguably the city’s most popular business and retail area. However, its reputation as the scam capital of the world makes it unappealing for most people.

Many people from the region hate the scammers, stating it’s an awful profession. However, the scam calls practice is not new in the city. It’s been around for several years. In fact, in 2019, Indian police shut down fraudulent operations carried out on 15 floors across six separate buildings.

kolkata call centre scams cctv

CCTV of Lolkata call centre scams

Investigation Into Kolkata Scam Callers

NASA engineer turned YouTuber Mark Roberts joined forces with Mr. Browning and conducted an 18 month- long investigation into several scam call centres in Kolkata headquarters.

Together with other YouTube content creators, Trilogy Media, and Tech Support Scams, they infiltrated the office and released glitter bombs, smoke bombs, stink bombs, and cockroaches to prank the staff.

By working together with the employees, they successfully obtained CCTVs and recorded the scam acts in progress. After the investigation, Mark posted a video on his YouTube channel, Mr. Rober’s.

The video and other evidence collected by the police from Mr. Rober’s team led to the arrest and closure of many fake call centres in Kolkata and other locations in India.

The Rise of Scams

Scam callers mostly target people older than 65 years, often claiming to work with Amazon, Microsoft, or the government. Sadly, hundreds, if not thousands, of Australians fall victim to these scammers each year.

Over the years, the number of calls, texts, and email scams has increased significantly, with some people receiving up to four texts a day from unknown numbers.

In 2021 alone, Australians have lost about $205 million to scammers who pose as Australian Tax Office, Microsoft, or Amazon. Things got so bad that Telstra launched a new SMS scam filter tool to counter the number of Aussies falling victims to scams.

Besides being annoying, scam texts tend to install malware that steals personal and financial information, allowing scammers to hack into the victim’s accounts and steal money.

The rise of scam texts, calls, and emails is evidence enough that scammers and hackers are constantly learning a new way to steal their victims’ details and commit fraud. So, it’s high time to learn how to protect yourself from scams. In case you’ve been scammed, change your passwords immediately, check if there’s a way to get your money back and report the scam to the right authorities.



Written by The Original PC Doctor on 14/8/2022.

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