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A college drop-out has admitted using malware and a fake tech support company to con 40,000 victims out of millions of dollars.

Former engineering student Amit Chauhan set up a bogus technical support call-center company called Tech Support in January 2019. Together with his accomplice and Jind resident Sumit Kumar, Chauhan ran the center from the upscale Udyog Vihar area of Gurugram, a city just southwest of New Delhi in northern India.

Victims who called up the fake company for technical support were asked to go online and click on a particular pop-up. When they did, malware was activated that stole the victims’ financial data.

Chauhan admitted to police that he and Kumar had used the fake company and malicious pop-ups to dupe over 40,000 foreign nationals out of more than Rs 60 crore (over 8 million USD).

The pair’s profitable scheme was rumbled after British victim Jim Browning outed their fake operation on YouTube. 

“The victim uploaded a video complaint on YouTube where he described how he was duped by a call center employee after he was sent a pop-up on his laptop and offered technical support to remove glitches,” said Karn Goyal, assistant commissioner of police for Gurugram’s Cyber Crime Cell.

“That pop-up was actually a malware sent by the call centre. The accused took handsome amounts from victims through payment gateway in the name of technical support.”

Acting on Browning’s tip-off, Gurugram’s Cyber Crime Cell raided the premises of Tech Support on March 4. A laptop owned by the accused was found to contain names and addresses of victims. 

Under interrogation, Chauhan and Kumar admitted running the fake call-center company since January 2019 as a way to cheat money out of foreigners. 

Chauhan and Kumar have been charged under India’s IT Act and are currently being held in police remand while further investigation is carried out into their alleged crimes.

While Chauhan may have kept his allegedly shady business dealings secret, he made no effort to hide his immense wealth. The alleged cyber-criminal lived in Gurugram’s luxury Magnolia condominium on Golf Course Road and was known locally for wearing designer clothes and driving around the city in Porches and Jaguar SUVs.

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