A Canadian private investigator is waging a one-man war against Indian call center scammers, and he’s winning. To date, he’s saved his fellow Canadians millions of dollars they would have otherwise been swindled out of.
As Toronto’s CFTR-AM reported, “Devan” (whose name has been changed to protect his identity), knows how Indian call center scams work. Though there are multiple variations of the scam, the one that he’s most concerned with is the revenue scam. That’s when a scammer calls a random number and, if the person engages with them, pretends to be an agent from the Canadian Revenue Agency — the Canadian equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service. The scammer will then try to convince the person that they owe money to the government, and if they don’t pay immediately, they’ll go to jail.
Though the scam might seem obvious to some, many Canadians fall for it. So, Devan has made it his mission to put a stop to that, in whatever small way he can.
It all started when Devan himself got such a call. He realized immediately it was a hoax. However, through a little patience and some kind words, Devan was able to befriend the scammer and get him on his side.
Now, the scammer reportedly works as Devan’s informant. Whenever someone in the informant’s call center gets someone hooked with their bogus claims, the informant will give Devan the phone number. Devan will then call the victim to warn him or her that they’re about to be scammed.
“He’d secretly send me phone numbers of victims that his colleagues were scamming and I would get involved by trying to intercept those calls with the call waiting features,” Devan explained.
Devan then tries relentlessly to get through to the victims, at times using up to five phones. Meanwhile, the scammer on the other end will be trying valiantly to convince the mark that they’ll be arrested if they answer Devan’s call. He estimates that he has between 10 minutes and two hours to get through to the victim before they’re swindled.
Devan’s intervention often works. He’s intercepted thousands of calls and has saved Canadians about a million dollars, according to CFTR-AM. In one case, Devan saved a woman from being swindled out of nearly $100,000. Devan said that she sobbed once she realized he’d saved her.
For his efforts, Devan’s informant gets paid $100 every time Devan saves a victim.
“It’s like gambling. You get so addicted to it that you hear those people, the majority of them, when you hear them they’re pretty excited. When you think about what you have just done, especially this time of year, when you think you just put $30,000 back into someone’s bank account and it cost you $100 for that, that’s incredible,” he said.
For tips on avoiding phone scams, check out this list from the Federal Trade Commission.