$500k tech support scam nets charges to a Brampton Ontario man

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Published December 20, 2023 at 6:38 pm

$500k tech support scam nets charges to a Brampton man

A Brampton man has been hit with multiple fraud charges after a year-long multi-jurisdictional investigation into elder crime.

Peel Regional Police’s Cyber Support Services and the Fraud Bureau, with assistance from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and U.S. law enforcement agencies, wrapped up the investigation Tuesday and laid the charges in a cyber-enabled fraud scheme that occurred between January of 2020 and February of 2022.

The scam tricked victims into believing their personal computers were infected with a virus or malware through various means, including spam phone calls or pop-up ads that would appear on the victims’ computer screens. Victims were then put in contact with call centre agents who convinced them to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for unnecessary computer repair services.

In some cases, victims were tricked into allowing these call centre agents to access their computers remotely. Approximately 330 Canadians fell victim to this scam, with fraud losses estimated at $500,000.

Jayant Bhatia, 34, is charged with unauthorized use of a computer, fraud over $5,000, and possession of property obtained by crime in connection with a trans-national computer technical support scam that targeted elderly victims across Canada.

The three business names primarily used to defraud the victims are A2Z Consultants Group Inc., QB Services, and SSS Consultants.

“Police will investigate computer scams and fraudulent activities that jeopardize our community’s personal information and digital well-being. As the use of technology continues to evolve, so do the methods employed by online threat actors seeking to exploit unsuspecting individuals,” said Detective Sergeant Matthew Hutchinson of Peel Police’s Intelligence Services, Cyber Support and Digital Forensics.

“Peel Regional Police recognizes the importance of a secure online environment for our community members. We remain committed in our efforts to combat computer scams and online fraud, and we encourage the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities.”

The scam operated in Brampton, New Delhi, India, and in New York/New Jersey in the U.S. American and Indian authorities in India have also laid charges against the people who participated in this fraud scheme.

Peel Regional Police, who thanked their international partners in the investigation, is asking anyone with new information to contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453–2121 ext. 3335.  Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting peelcrimestoppers.ca.

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