Police said Thursday that they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to rectify the problem at a price.
UP police officer Ajay Pal Sharma said those arrested Tuesday and Wednesday posed as authorized representatives of Microsoft and other companies and used their logos.
The arrests were made after input from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Interpol, Sharma said. Microsoft was the complainant in the case.
He said those arrested have been running the scam out of call centres in the Indian capital and neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for months.
Their pop-up messages prompted victims in the United States, Britain, Australia and other countries to call a phone number showing on their computer screens, he said. They would then be scammed out of money in exchange for supposedly fixing the problem.
Those arrested were mostly people in their 20s and early 30s who quit their jobs in call centres. Police recovered hard drives, servers, laptops, mobile phones, computers and central processing units (CPUs) from them, Sharma said.
In 2016, the Mumbai police arrested 70 people for allegedly cheating thousands of Americans. They would call them from dubious call centres in Mumbai and tell their victims that they owed unpaid taxes. They would ask Americans to buy prepaid cash cards to settle outstanding tax debts or face jail.