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A recent article in the NYT was a shocker. It is about the call center scamming of Americans. Big cities like Mumbai host a plenty of call centers and all these off shore outsourcing benefits countries like the US. A phone, a PC, insurance, baggage claims from airlines, etc., are all outsourced to such call centers. And when you pick the call, an Adam, Sandra, John who talks to us are actually, Prem, Sandhya, or Prakash from India. Just like companies with a good intent (that helps finding a lost baggage or insurance claim), there are many companies whose sole purpose is to scam in the name of Federal government. Taking the cue that US citizens have a great regard for its police and government and are petrified at the thought of being questioned by these officials, these scammers get their way to the bank accounts with just a few confusing information. Apparently, such companies have been able to swindle almost $300 million dollars from Americans. With the help of two whistleblowers, the FTC and FBI were able to bring down a couple of companies. Their tactics are simple- talk to the customer in a rough and firm tone, tell them that their offense will be questioned by the federal government, and the only way out is to transfer money or share the details for solving the issue. Once they know that the person at the other end of the line is shaken, they pull the bait to get hold of the account details. The story about how these companies swindled an immigrant's $17,000 is sad and shocking. That is, almost all of that lady's life savings.
Reading this article was a painful thing as the title read "India's call center talents put to criminal use". It was sad to see a title that used India in a wrong light. What has come down to. I know that these people do not represent the Indians around the world and in India. But when companies actually recruit and train employees for the sole purpose of scamming international citizens and that it goes unnoticed for a long time, I am lost.
From the comments written in this article it was clear that there are a lot of them who have had some experience - either their older parents or themselves. Ah well, I can only hope such things don't happen to people around me (and myself). Like they tell kids-don't talk to strangers, we probably ought not to trust the person on the other side of the telephone. Measured words, measured and short information, and disconnections are most important things to keep us off from such baits. God save us !