Americans duped into losing $10 billion by illegal Indian call centres in 2022

According to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), seniors in the United States have lost over $3 billion to romance-related scams and “tech support” frauds, which are largely perpetrated by illegal call centers and phishing gangs based in India. The total amount of money lost by Americans in online and call center-related scams in the past 11 months is estimated to be $10.2 billion, an increase of 47% from the previous year’s $6.9 billion. In response, the FBI has appointed a permanent representative at the US embassy in New Delhi to work with the Central Bureau of Investigation, Interpol, and the Delhi Police to crack down on these gangs and freeze money transferred through wire and cryptocurrencies to syndicates operating within India.

The FBI is particularly concerned about phishing gangs in India defrauding elderly US citizens of their life savings. The expected damages from romance-related frauds reported by victims on the FBI website are $1.2 billion in 2021 and $1.2 billion in the final 11 months of 2022. When combined with “tech support” crimes, the losses could reach $3 billion over the course of two years. Most of these fraud victims are older people over the age of 60, according to Suhel Daud, the legal attaché at the US embassy in India.


Although these scams have not yet been deemed a national security concern for either India or the US, they are still damaging the reputation of India as a major exporter of call center and internet scams. In the past two years, incidents involving “tech support” have increased by over 130% annually, costing Americans $347 million in 2021 and $781 million from January to November 2022. The number of “tech support” crimes, in which victims’ computers display pop-up messages claiming to offer technical support, has risen by 137% in 2021 and 128% in 2022.