Tech YouTubers are stepping up a war against fraudulent Indian call centers

Former NASA engineer Mark Rober creates amazing things on his YouTube channel like rogue squirrel mazesbut his most popular video series is the annual glitter bomb, a beautifully designed faux pack that drenches the balcony pirates in a shower of glitter and fart spray. In an unexpected twist, last years The glitter bomb video also helped police catch and arrest someone involved in a phone scam, and Rober spent the next year investigating how these phone scam operations work. In a new video, he shows the extensive results of that effort, including hiring double agents to infiltrate several call centers in India and hack their security camera footage.

And of course he also dropped a stink bomb.

For Rober, this crusade started when he teamed up with another YouTuber, Jim Browning, to try to send a glitter bomb into a scam operation. Browning’s entire channel, which has 3.7 million followers, is dedicated to identifying the call centers behind tech support scams and refund scams. These scams often target elderly and less computer-savvy people and often rely on the scammers gaining remote access to your computer and then tricking them into giving you personal information such as your bank account login. “Refund” scams make people believe they have been overcompensated with some fake refund and lead them to mail money to the scammers.

The people who receive these bundles of money in the United States are essentially underlings in these fraudulent operations, so after receiving a glitter bomb in his hands last year, Rober turned his attention to the call centers themselves. With Browning’s help, they were able to access closed-circuit TV from the infiltrated call centers, while another YouTube duo, Trilogy Media, traveled to Kolkata, India, to conduct ground operations.

Trilogy Media’s video focuses on their relationship with the “sleeper agents” they sent to work in call centers before planting pranks like cockroach containers and the classic stink bombs. Meanwhile, Browning shows him talking to the scammers, who don’t realize he’s been watching them on CCTV.

The craziest part of Rober’s video for me is that they were able to gain access to at least one of the financial data from the scam’s operations by seeing the boss enter his computer password through a security camera. It turns out that this particular operation rips people off an average of $65,000 a day, or about $18 million a year.

The videos are worth watching – both for some schadenfreude, and to know what to guard against yourself if the scammers come calling. As fun as the pranks are, it’s frustrating to know that the operations are ignored by the police, at least in the city of Kolkata. But Rober’s team had an impact: they actually closed another call center in other parts of the country. I hope that videos like these, which have already racked up millions of views, will at least reduce the number of people who fall for fraudulent calls.

Leave a Comment