US citizens lost over $10 billion due to phishing calls by illegal Indian call centres in 2022, Times of India reported citing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) data.
The report said most of the victims of these fraud calls from Indian phishing gangs were elderly US citizens above the age of 60 years who lost over $3 billion.
After several incidents were reported in 2022, the FBI has now deputed a permanent representative at the US embassy in New Delhi. The representative will work closely with the CBI, Interpol and the Delhi Police to bust these gangs that have put India under the threat to be termed as the hub of such illegal call centres.
Several Americans lost a total of $10.2 billion in 2022 so far, which is a 47 per cent increase from 2021’s $6.9 billion, to such fraud calls.
Quoting its South Asia head Suhel Daud, TOI reported that “romance-related” frauds reported were worth Rs 8,000 crore in 2021 and Rs 8,000 crore in the last 11 months of 2022. Losses due to “tech support” crimes were as much as $3 billion in the last two years – $347 million in 2021 and $781 million in 2022 so far.
“It may not be a national security concern yet, but the reputation (of a country) is involved, and we don’t want India to suffer on that count,” Daud told the publication.
The report quoting the Daud further said that the FBI’s website has registered 8.5 lakh complaints in 2021 and over 7.8 lakh complaints so far in 2022 in regard to internet crimes.
Those complaints included cyber crime related to investment ($3 billion), business email compromise ($2.4 billion), personal data breach ($1.2 billion), romance ($1 billion) and tech support ($781 million).