This is a story that will make you sick! Thanks to reader ‘Meanymom’ for sending it.
From the BBC a little over a week ago:
Confessions of a call-centre scammer
This week, the BBC showed scammers at work in an Indian call centre, recorded by an activist who hacked into the company’s security cameras. Staff were seen laughing at their victims in the US and the UK. But who are these scammers, and how do they justify their actions?
Behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses, Piyush is telling me how he made a quarter of a million dollars.
“It was easy money,” he says, detailing how he bought fancy cars and wore designer clothes.
From a modest background, Piyush made a fortune by defrauding innocent victims at the other end of a phone.
“To become a rock star we have to do something,” he says.
“Become a thief?” I ask.
“Right,” he replies coolly.
Piyush meets me in a friend’s apartment, in one of Delhi’s richest neighbourhoods. The group of young men I’ve come to talk to all have one thing in common – they’ve worked in India’s scam call-centre industry.
The company Piyush worked for ran what is known as a “tech support scam”. It would send a pop-up to people’s screens, telling them their computer had been infected by a “pornographic virus” or other malware, and giving them a helpline number to call.
As panicking customers rang in, Piyush and his colleagues would milk them for money, to fix a problem that didn’t actually exist.
Piyush tells me that tricking people is an “art”.
“We used to target the old people,” he says.
“There are many old people in the US who don’t have families, are alone and are disabled, so it’s very easy to trick them.”
I look at this man sitting opposite me in his baggy jeans and hipster T-shirt and wonder how he could be so cold-hearted. How would he feel if his own grandparents were victims of scamming, I ask?
“Yeah, I will feel bad,” he says. “I did it because I needed money and that’s it.”
There is much more of the disgusting story here.