If you own a cell phone, you know the pain and fury of a 9 a.m. call from “Microsoft Windows support.” These and similar scams send out literally billions of robo-calls every year, plus various web-based scams, trying to hook the unwary for services they don’t need. With India being a hotbed of phony call centers, the country’s investigators are finally cracking down on them with the joint help of Microsoft and Amazon.

According to a press release from India’s Central Bureau of Investigation and blog posts from Microsoft and Amazon covering the same operation, the country’s central law enforcement service teamed up with international services, local police, and the tech giants to search 76 locations in five Indian states. Operation Chakra-II shut down centers focused on hooking customers with pop-up ads falsely claiming to be Microsoft or Amazon support, offering a toll-free number where an operator would use remote desktop software to take over the rube’s PC. The operator would then “fix” the perfectly functional computer, charging hundreds of dollars in subscription fees for the unnecessary service.

The raids ended with the confiscation of 48 computers, 32 phones, two servers, plus an additional 33 SIM cards and various other electronics, freezing associated bank accounts while the alleged criminals are prosecuted. The centers primarily targeted users in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Spain, and Germany.

The Verge notes that Microsoft maintains a full (legitimate) support site dedicated to this kind of scam, and how to spot it. TL;DR, tech companies don’t call or email you out of the blue to report issues with your computer or other gadgets, and they definitely don’t contact you via web pop-up ads with toll-free phone numbers. Amazon doesn’t have a dedicated page, but encourages anyone who’s spotted a scam to report it online.


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