This thief lived as a CEO in Gurugram, until a UK hacker unmasked him | Gurgaon News
The ostentatious lifestyle of the 30-year-old man did not stand out in the thriving neighborhood that is home to the cream of the corporate world. In fact, it helped Chauhan to mix, to inhabit a spectrum with which he had dreamed but took a shortcut. He had come stealing other people’s money. He was the thief who lived as a CEO.
Chauhan’s luxurious lifestyle had begun in January 2019 and he seemed comfortable, cheating people in distant Britain while running a perfectly legal business, a travel company, in Gurugram, until he received a call from Jim Browning, a Ethical hacker from England, last May. A few months later, he again received a call from the United Kingdom, this time from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which sought to know the source of his income and asked if he had a fake call center. This Tuesday, six months after the BBC dialed Chauhan’s phone, police knocked on his doors.
Chauhan and his accomplice, Sumit Kumar, 26, were arrested for orchestrating a scam that could have gone unnoticed and took advantage of many more unsuspecting citizens of the United Kingdom for much longer if the BBC had not published a documentary about the fake call . center that caught the attention of the Gurugram police.
The documentary was the result of an investigation conducted by Browning, who used “reverse hacking” to gain access to CCTV systems and cameras that were used in the fake call center that Chauhan had established in Udyog Vihar, the office district largest of Gurugram. Then, sitting at home in the United Kingdom, Browning could see the young people here talking on the phone in English with a lot of accent. He contacted the BBC, who tried to communicate with Chauhan. Then, the BBC published the documentary on YouTube.
“They would use malware to hack computers (from British citizens) and lock the screen. Then they would call the users and ask for a single rate of more than Rs 1 lakh to unlock the screen. Users had few more options to pay money if they wanted their systems to work again. This continued between January and September 2019, ”said ACP Karan Goyal.
Chauhan’s offices in Sonit Tower were registered on Tuesday. Several hard drives, documents from three bank accounts with a total of Rs 3 crore in them and laptops were recovered from the office. Police suspect that Chauhan may have several other bank accounts and is trying to track the money trail.
A defector from the Kurukshetra Institute of Technology and Management (KITM), where he enrolled in the BTech course, Chauhan had been running a travel agency, Faremart Travels, since 2015. The travel agency was just the main office: the five floors Sonit The tower in Udyog Vihar, which police say Chauhan owns completely, was dedicated to his call center, a group that mounted malware attacks and then offered the cure for a huge fee. Chauhan had about 50 young people in his job.
Chauhan, after the BBC call, finished the call center, although he continued to live in the Magnolias. Police are now questioning employees. “The other employees are under our scanner. We have not arrested any of the workers yet, but we have registered their statements, “Goyal said, adding that they had asked Browning to share their findings.
Delhi-NCR has appeared prominently on police radar in different countries, as it has become a hotbed of fake call centers operating under the attire of legitimate companies. Many of them have been addressed to people in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico. The modus operandi has varied from impersonating local tax authorities to targeted malware attacks.
Analysts say that the low income of office buildings and the easy availability of young people with good English proficiency are the main reasons for the proliferation of these fake call centers. What makes it difficult to track these gangs is that they keep changing their offices from time to time.