TODAY -

Call centre fraud: Vicious vishing attack on USA

Varun Kapoor *



Vishing is a form of Phishing attack. In Phishing the cyber criminal uses technology as a tool to send a fake text message via the SMS or email to a large number of intended victims. All of them do not fall prey to the evil designs of the attacker but a few will that will satisfy the attacker as he was never targeting success with all the recipients of his SMS or mail.

Similarly in Vishing the attacker uses a voice call to achieve his objective of duping the intended victim. The difference is that in Vishing, voice calls are used instead of text and one victim at a time are attacked whereas in Phishing bulk targets are chosen and attacked simultaneously.

These attacks are increasing rapidly because customers have an innate sense of trust in the services and dependability of the Telecom Service Provider. They generally believe the caller in the calls they get as they feel that the Telecom Company has proper knowledge of the physical locations of the origin of the calls. Which may not be true in case of a Vishing call and that is one reason of the target getting duped.

Another reason is the skill of the attacker at convincing the target of the genuineness of the call. These attackers use social engineering to gather knowledge and information about the intended victim. Armed with all this they attack the target and they very often talk them into being conned.

There are many cases of individual citizens getting defrauded by smooth talking cyber criminals using the Vishing attack module. However one case occurred in Mumbai and Thane areas of Maharashtra which has even shocked the pundits.

This is because of the scale, scope and costs involved. This entire scam was very ingeniously planned and executed by a 23 year old youth! The fact that it tasted such huge success is testimony to the reality that it is indeed very easy to carry out a Vishing attack on unsuspecting and law abiding citizens, that too from an educated and advanced country like the United States of America.

This scam was masterminded by a 23 year old resident of Ahmadabad in Gujarat. His name is Sagar Thakkar @ Shaggy. He had several partners in India as well as agents in USA. These agents leaked information about Income Tax defaulters to Shaggy and his associates.

They gained this information through black market lists that they purchased and through similar lists obtained from the Dark Net. The Indian wing of this enterprise in turn used this information to formally con the targeted individuals using the Vishing formula.

They legally set up Five call centres in Mumbai and Thane areas. In these Centres they employed around 700 operators. These operators were told that they have to call on behalf of a private income tax collection company of USA. They were given a specific script to follow and were trained to deliver it as best as they could.

It included making VoIP calls to the defaulters (aka targets) and posing as members of the Internal Revenue Service of the USA. They then were threatened with dire consequences which included arrest if they did not immediately pay up a specified amount which was usually ranging from US$ 10,000 US $ 20,000 and eventually a settlement was made for anything between US$ 3,000 US$ 5,000.

Everything had to be done immediately and the victim was made to pay through preloaded cash cards. The victims were made to share the 16 digit code of the preloaded cash card with the call centre employee who helped them debit the pre decided amount from it. Then using the on-line payment mode, the amount debited by the victim from his cash card would be redeemed by the scamsters.

In the end the call centre employee would also email a forged certificate of payment to the victim from the Internal Revenue Service of USA. So all stitched up and neatly conducted. The victim did not realize that he had been conned into transferring money to cyber criminals in a smooth operation, till it was too late and little could be done then.

This amount would then be deposited by the partners of Shaggy in the USA, in Singapore, Dubai and even sometimes international bank account of USA and then ultimately get routed to India and to Sagar and his associates through suspected Hawala transactions. The American associates kept 30% of the scammed amount whereas 40% was distributed by Shaggy to his Indian partners and the rest 30% was kept by him.

The scam was going on for the more than one year and in that period a staggering 2000 Crores was illegal amassed by these scamsters. The US Department for Justice claims that 18 Lakh targets received these bogus calls and 9,600 innocent citizens were actually conned into giving up Crores of Rupees to the scamsters.

This shocking incident demonstrates the ease with which a deadly cyber crime can be committed and the scale of the benefits that can be reaped by the perpetrators. The fact that the citizens of a well aware and advanced country can be so easily duped into parting with huge amounts just on a phone call the portents for the citizens of the other lands on the globe are ominous.

The only solution in such cases is awareness and smart use of technology and gadgets by citizens. No telecom calls (either on landline or mobile) should be entertained in which the caller makes a financial offer (either a threat or a gain) or attempts to get cash card details on any pretext.

The answer should be a polite no and the phone connection should be cut. This attitude and practice of the same will definitely secure and insulate the individual citizens from all kinds Vishing attacks.


[Views expressed in the column are of the author himself]


* Varun Kapoor wrote this article for The Sangai Express
Varun Kapoor is ADG Narcotics & PRTS Indore, MP
This article was webcasted on September 07, 2018.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Purnima Ngangom (Printmaker) :: Profile
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #2
  • CAB & scoring 21 out of 25 ?
  • Complications :: Poem
  • North East Business Summit at Delhi
  • Almond oil is the ultimate skin care
  • The Bill that haunt the government
  • Over 50 police personnel chargesheeted
  • Insurgency related incidents in NE states
  • Myanmar border fence going nowhere
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #1: Gallery
  • CChongkhong, Apanthou :: eMing
  • Crop diseases & organic way of managing
  • War and Poetry :: Poem
  • Landeng-Pena yakaiduna Poster Campaign
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Condemns communal nature of CAB 2016
  • PCC, Arunachal Pradesh on CAB, 2016
  • CAB and other issues before LS polls
  • Sit-In against CAB [Jan 14] : Gallery
  • CAB : Our Identity & Culture is at stake
  • Re-Imagining the Naga Peace Process
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Northeast Startup Summit 2019
  • Ponder them to live like human beings
  • No Shield for Manipur against CAB
  • Missing link: NE, CAB & obscure assurance
  • JCILPS Protest against CAB : Gallery
  • AMUCO Rally against CAB : Gallery
  • Poetic Justice - II :: Poem
  • Makar Sankranti Musing
  • Biren should release Kishorchandra
  • New archaeological site in Senapati
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #1
  • New craft gallery to promote NE products
  • Rights body warns Nagas on Article 371 (A)
  • NE Black Day against CAB : Gallery
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Myanmar-India Business Summit, Sagaing
  • Cry of a Dying River - 61 :: Poem
  • Preventing the Dengue threat
  • NPF on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016
  • Nagaland Chief Minister On CAB 2016
  • Hijacking by pseudoscience
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Mr. CM, you can't fool people on CAB
  • CAB 2016: Adoption of foreign citizens
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • CAB & question of India's North East
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #1
  • Local actions for #GlobalGoals
  • Know your HIV status
  • Pope Francis - the last Pope!
  • CAB is unsecular discriminatory bill
  • When Govt. disregard Constitutions...
  • Citizenship Bill: An exceptional exception
  • The Walking Lady : A Short Story
  • 4th Convocation Ceremony of CAU
  • The Voice of Silence :: Poem
  • Against CAB 2016 : 6 Student Bodies
  • Need for a separate time zone
  • BOOM MMA : 'Manipur Top Team' members
  • Against Citizenship Bill Act 2016
  • Lt Gen Rajeev Sirohi at Spear Corps
  • Is the middle man responsible
  • Economically weak at Rs 8 lakh per annum ?
  • Umanglai Haraoba: Traditional Institution
  • Strike against CAB : Gallery
  • People - animal conflict
  • Fine on relieving in public
  • Flawed/divisive Citizenship Bill dangerous
  • Broken :: Poem
  • Meetei gi mayokta leiba Political party..
  • NE uniting under shutdown call : CAB
  • Trains in NE to get 'glass-top' coaches
  • Yubi Lakpi #2 : Gallery
  • Freedom's fault lines
  • Traditional Manipuri Curries
  • Governance in Multi-Ethnic States
  • Understanding animal welfare
  • Unite against corruption for development
  • Manipurgi Maraibk Kari Oihougani
  • On restoring of director of CBI
  • Citizenship Bill : scourge for NE
  • Feel good factor from UNC
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • A tale of two falcons
  • Artificial Insemination in livestock
  • The Naked Truth :: Poem
  • My itinerary visit to Veeranapalya
  • Test for Free Coaching for IIT/AIIMS
  • Critique of Transgender Persons Bill
  • Press Rejoinder from NPF [7 Jan]
  • Nagaland Cabinet on Citizenship Bill
  • Can we expect something from govt
  • Mova Cave, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Sumo Wrestling #2 :: Gallery
  • Maipaksana RK: Entrepreneurship Award
  • Poetic Justice - I
  • IIT-G Technology Incubation Centre
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #2
  • Economics of climate change & growth
  • Singhat Students tour to Delhi & Agra
  • Congress against Modi on Rafale Deal
  • Press Club celebrates foundation day
  • NSF to impose 11-hr bandh on Jan 8
  • 518 drug traffickers arrested in 2018
  • Gangmumei Kamei Memorial lecture
  • Taking the Street Vendor seriously #1
  • WWII museums in Japan: Gallery
  • Schedule : HSLC Examination 2019
  • Schedule : Class XI Examination 2019
  • Schedule : HSE Examination 2019
  • Caste System in Contemporary India: Book
  • Save energy and save your skin
  • Benefits of henna for beauty
  • Coronary In-stent obstruction treated
  • A take on PM visit to Imphal
  • No over the top promises, assurances
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Management of commercial broiler farming
  • 61st CC Meet Football Tournament 2019
  • Noise Ruins & Blights Lives
  • Social media & freedom of speech
  • Cry of a Dying River - 60 :: Poem
  • Declare war against air pollution
  • Winter relief at Thanga
  • Of monologues and conveniences
  • Raising posers before PM's arrival: Cong
  • Irengbam Bedamani :: eRang Photos
  • Poireiton Chakhao at Loktak Lake
  • Hojang :: Poem
  • New Year: Challenges & opportunities
  • One Rank One Pension Paper (OROP)
  • Fasting before diagnostic tests
  • Open Mic. event at Agartala
  • Happy New Year '2019' :: NPF
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Respecting life & the trust deficit
  • Need to look beyond New Year-2019
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #1: Gallery
  • May the Year 2019 bring integrity of Manipur
  • Sangai Fest: Evening Prog #2: Gallery
  • What I learned from Kishorchandra detention
  • Charlie, the angel :: Story
  • Against NSA to Kishorchandra Wangkhem
  • Quality New Year
  • Reminder to PM on Pravish Chanam death
  • What is there to be happy on New Year
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #4: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Village Authority in Hill Areas of Manipur #2
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #1
  • Local leaders commit to #endTobacco
  • Transformation of China in last 40 years
  • Boys Hostel for Pangal Students
  • From the diary of an insomniac - II
  • From nomenclature conflict of oral tradition
  • Gearing up for Parliamentary polls
  • Dimapur Meetei Council donates
  • Bye Bye 2018 !!! : Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #6: Gallery
  • Unforgettable Revolutionary NK Sanajaoba
  • Life's pain :: Poem
  • New Year resolution of our honorables
  • Certificate distribution at Namsai, ArP
  • Indo-Myanmar Relations : Talk @ MU
  • Butchering a Pony for meat! Shameful
  • Top 5 Indie/Alternative Picks of 2018
  • Sangaithel Park @Sangai: Gallery
  • Things that change educational settings
  • Good Times around the Corner :: Poem
  • Mann Ki Baat - A Chicken Hide
  • Indira Gandhi - An ephemeral encounter
  • A view of Ukhrul Town #1: Gallery
  • January Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • National Mathematics Day & Ramanujan
  • Thougal Jagoi @Sangai: Gallery
  • Training Program at DM Community College
  • Ode to Radio Telegraphy
  • To the Muse :: Poem
  • Respecting the Freedom of Speech
  • Attending to homeless lady : Humane
  • Wildlife return after 50 years
  • Snowfall @Tamei, Tamenglong : Gallery
  • China spreads across Indochina Peninsula
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping a#2: Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 59 :: Poem
  • Match words with actions to #endTB
  • Hacking : Base of all cyber crimes
  • Illegal adoptions in hospitals
  • Controlling the school transporters
  • Detention under NSA : Stand of MUSU
  • Xmas: Churches @Lamphel : Gallery
  • 27th Imphal Book Fair #2 : Gallery
  • The Crying Call of Motherland :: Poem
  • Jobs at C-DAC: International centre posting
  • Bye-Bye Congress Grass: Biological Mgmt
  • How to prevent your kajal / eye make up
  • Jobs at Manitech Consultancy, Imphal
  • Of politicians & their electoral politics
  • AFSPA: Politico-legal sanction for impunity?
  • Kwatha Festival #3 : Gallery
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #2 : Gallery
  • Oinam Dilip : Rising Star Award 2018, Delhi
  • Harvard Leadership Program at Don Bosco
  • Manipur Fest 2019 in Bengaluru
  • Christmas @Churachandpur : Gallery
  • UN Rapporteur briefed on Kishorechand
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #3: Gallery
  • Irengbam Bedamani - Actress :: eRang
  • Communities @ Barak Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Khumanthem Prakash : Akademi Award
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS