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Author Topic: Tech-Support Scammers Cheat Elder of $136,000, Risk Decades in Jail  (Read 121 times)
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« on: May 28, 2019, 11:09:58 AM »

Three individuals have been arrested on charges related to running tech support scams for several years. The victims were mostly elderly who stated they were tricked into paying for fake computer repair services.

Allegedly pretending to be affiliated with major tech companies, Gunjit Malhotra, Gurjet Singh, and Jas Pal accessed victims' computers and caused them to malfunction in order to convince that repairs were required.

This scam was allegedly being conducted for about seven years, between 2013 and 2019, and used multiple companies to charge for the fake computer services, making in excess of $1.3 million.

Classic tech-support swindle

In a complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Carie Jeleniewski, the trio engaged in cold calling the victims, a tactic typical for tech support scams, claiming to be from world-known computer companies and warning the victims that their computer was infected with a virus.

They also waited for victims to call them, most likely after seeing fake messages falsely alerting hem that their computer systems had been infected. This was also a common tactic and relied on users' clicking the wrong link and landing on fraudulent websites.

After establishing contact, the scammers deceived the victims with offers of repair and disinfection services and convinced them to give remote access to their computers.

The complaint further stated that three people opened bank accounts for the following entities: "22nd Century ITC," "Pro Advisor Solutions," "NY Software Solutions Inc," "Seasia Consulting Inc," "Sav IT," and "Reussite Technologies." Checks from the victims were paid to these companies and others.

Victim falls for thousands of dollars

Most of the victims paid amounts between $225 and $799, for fake multi-year service plans. To seal the deal, the tech support scams sometimes said that the attacks were coming from Russian hackers.

One of the victims in the complaint was scammed for over $136,600 through dozens of calls from the tech support scammers. The story was that her computers had "network system security" and "networking hardware" problems.

Sometimes, they served the Russian theme to get her to pay, and it worked. Posing as support technicians, the impostors accessed the victim's computer remotely and worked their "magic."

Seeing that they were able to get money out of her, the fraudsters would call every few weeks to get their checks. This lasted for about a year, from April 2018 to February 2019.

She ended up writing at least 18 checks for the companies set up by the fraudsters. Eight of them, for "Reussite Technologies" were for a total amount of about $66,000. Another ten were for "NY IT Solutions Inc" and added up to around $71,000.

Money flows to India

The investigation followed the money trail and discovered that the alleged tech support scheme Malhotra, Singh, and Pal engaged in made at least $1.3 million that was transferred in accounts opened abroad.

Law enforcement officers identified about $555,000 that went to accounts in India.

The complaint does not make it clear who or what the money was intended for, but of the three individuals involved in the scam, only Malhotra lived mostly in India and visited the U.S. occasionally.

While the officers were interviewing Singh at his residence in Queens, New York, the fraudster received another check. It appears that Singh was picking up the personal checks from victims at the direction of Malhotra, who gave an 8% cut.

When checking with the carrier that delivered to Singh checks from all over the U.S., the officers found that Singh received over 200 parcels.

The charges for all three perpetrators are for mail fraud with a maximum sentence of 20 years of jail time; and conspiracy to access a computer for fraudulent purposes, with a minimum sentence is two years in prison. Singh is also charged with aggravated identity theft carrying a minimum sentence of two years.

« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 11:13:00 AM by javajolt » Logged

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