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印度电话诈骗害美国人损失1个亿

更新时间:2017-1-6 11:34:25 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

India’s Call-Center Talents Put to a Criminal Use: Swindling Americans
印度电话诈骗害美国人损失1个亿

THANE, India — Betsy Broder, who tracks international fraud at the Federal Trade Commission, was in her office in Washington last summer when she got a call from two Indian teenagers.

印度塔那——去年夏天,美国联邦贸易委员会(Federal Trade Commission,简称FTC)负责追踪国际欺诈案的贝齐·布罗德(Betsy Broder),在其位于华盛顿的办公室里接到了两名印度青年的电话。

Calling from a high-rise building in a suburb of Mumbai, they told her, in tones that were alternately earnest and melodramatic, that they wanted to share the details of a sprawling criminal operation targeting Americans. Broder, who was no stranger to whistleblowers, pressed the young men for details.

电话是从孟买郊区一栋高层建筑中打来的,他们以时而诚恳、时而颇为戏剧化的语气告诉她,想跟她分享一项以美国人为目标的大型犯罪行动的细节。常和告密者打交道的布罗德开始向那两名年轻男子追问相关细节。

“He said his name was Adam,” she said, referring to one of the pair. “I said, ‘Your name is not Adam. What does your grandmother call you?’ He said, ‘Babu.'”

“他说他叫亚当(Adam),”她在提及其中一人时说到。“我说。‘你不叫亚当’,你祖母管你叫什么?’他说,‘巴布(Babu)。’”

Babu was Jayesh Dubey, a skinny 19-year-old with hair gelled into vertical bristles, a little like a chimney brush. He told her that he was working in a seven-story building and that everyone there was engaged in the same activity: impersonating IRS officials and threatening Americans, demanding immediate payment to cover back taxes.

巴布就是贾耶什·杜贝(Jayesh Dubey),一个消瘦的19岁男孩,喷了发胶的头发根根竖立,好像烟囱刷。他告诉布罗德,他在一栋七层高的大楼里工作,那里的每个人都做着同样的事情:冒充美国国税局(IRS)官员,恐吓美国人,要求他们立刻付款补缴欠税。

If they reached a person who was sufficiently terrified or gullible — this was known in the business as a “sale” — they would instruct that person to buy thousands of dollars’ worth of iTunes cards to avoid prosecution, they said; the most rattled among them complied. The victim would then send the codes from the iTunes cards to the swindlers, giving them access to the money on the card.

他们说,如果联系上一个非常害怕或者很容易受骗的人——在行内这被称为一笔“业务”——他们会指导对方去购买价值数千美元的iTunes卡,告诉对方这样做就可以避免被起诉;那些最惊恐的人会照办。受害者随后会将iTunes卡的密码发给骗子,骗子就能拿到卡里的钱了。

As it happened, the U.S. government had been tracking this India-based scheme since 2013, a period during which Americans, many of them recent immigrants, have lost $100 million to it.

恰好,美国政府从2013年开始就在追踪这个以印度为大本营的骗局。在此期间,该骗局让美国人损失了1亿美元,多数受害者都是新移民。

Though India had no reputation as a large-scale exporter of fraud in the past, it is now seen as a major center for cyberfraud, said Suhel Daud, an FBI agent who serves as assistant legal attaché at the embassy in New Delhi. Several trends have converged to make this happen, he said: a demographic bulge of computer-savvy, young, English-speaking job seekers; a vast call-center culture; super-efficient technology; and what can only be described as ingenuity.

曾在美国驻新德里大使馆担任助理法务专员的联邦调查局(FBI)探员苏海尔·达乌德(Suhel Daud)表示,印度从前并不是以大规模输出骗局闻名的国家,但现在却被视为一个主要的网络诈骗中心。他说,这种局面是由好几种因素共同促成的:越来越多的能熟练使用计算机、说英语的年轻求职者;大型呼叫中心文化;超高效的技术;以及某种只能被称作奇智巧思的东西。

“They have figured all of this out,” Daud said. “Put all of these together, with the Indian demographics in the U.S., and it’s a natural segue. Whatever money you’re making, you can easily make 10 times as much.”

“他们已经搞清楚了这一切,”布罗德说。“把所有这些放到一起,再加上印度人在美国的分布,简直是水到渠成。不管现在赚多少钱,你都可以轻而易举地赚上十倍。”

‘I Want Money. That’s Why.’

“我要挣钱。这就是原因。”

Pawan Poojary and Jayesh Dubey, best friends and college dropouts, were impressed with the Phoenix 007 call center in Thane, a suburb northeast of Mumbai. The interviewer carried an iPhone; there were racing sport bikes parked outside, and, as Poojary put it, “girls roaming here and there.” The monthly salary was average for call centers, 16,000 rupees (about $230), they said, but the bonuses were double or triple that, based on sales.

帕万·普贾里(Pawan Poojary)和贾耶什·杜贝是最好的朋友,都从大学辍了学,位于孟买东北部郊区塔那的凤凰007(Phoenix 007)呼叫中心让他们印象深刻。面试官拿着一部iPhone,外边停着竞速自行车,用普贾里的话说还有“一些女孩四处闲晃”。他们说,呼叫中心员工的月薪为1.6万卢比(约合230美元),属中等水平,但奖金是这个数字的两倍或三倍,依业务额而定。

The two friends had been playing a video game for up to eight hours a day, pausing occasionally to eat. They wanted in.

两人此前一直在玩电子游戏,一天最多能玩8小时,偶尔会停下来吃点东西。他们想要加入。

“At that time, in my mind is that I want money,” Poojary, 18, said. “That’s it. I want money. That’s why.”

“那时候满脑子想的都是我要挣钱,”18岁的普贾里说。“就是这样。我要挣钱。这就是原因。”

They said they showed up for training in a room of young Indians like themselves, the first in their family to be educated in English. They were a slice of aspirational India: Poojary’s father, who owned two welding shops, was adamant that his son would rise to a higher place in society, an office job. Poojary was afraid to tell him he had dropped out of college.

他们说自己进入了一个房间,去接受培训,房间里挤满了跟他们差不多的印度年轻人——两人分别为各自家中第一个接受英语教育的人。他们是印度这个雄心勃勃的国家的一部分:普贾里的父亲拥有两家焊接店,深信儿子会出人头地,找到一份坐办公室的工作。普贾里不敢告诉父亲自己从大学辍学了。

The trainer assigned them names, Paul Edward and Adam Williams, and handed out a six-page script that started out, “My name is Shawn Anderson, with the department of legal affairs with the United States Treasury Department,” the teenagers said.

培训师给他们分派了名字,保罗·爱德华(Paul Edward)和亚当·威廉姆斯(Adam Williams),还发了一份6页长的发起谈话的脚本,“我叫肖恩·安德森(Shawn Anderson),任职于美国财政部法律事务局,”两名青年说道。

“We read the script, and I asked, ‘Is this a scam?'” Poojary said. “He said, ‘Yes.'”

“我们读了脚本,我问,‘这是一个骗局吗?’”普贾里说。“他回答,‘没错。’”

“At that time I am money-minded. I thought, ‘OK, I can do this,'” he said.

“那时候我满脑子都是钱。我心想,‘好吧,我可以做这个,’”他说。

Preying on Fear

利用人们的恐惧

Inaben Desai, of Sugar Land, Texas, came home from grocery shopping, and her mother handed her the phone, eyes wide with alarm. Someone was on the line from the government, her mother said. They had called three or four times while she was out.

德克萨斯州舒格兰的伊娜本·德赛(Inaben Desai)在杂货店买了东西以后回到家中,她母亲把电话递给她,惊恐地睁大着双眼。电话那头是来自政府部门的什么人,她母亲说。他们在她外出时打了三四通电话。

Desai, 56, worked as a cashier at Wal-Mart. When she picked up the phone, a gruff-voiced man told her that she had failed to pay fees when she got her U.S. citizenship, in 1995, and that unless she did so she would be deported back to India, she said. When Desai said she needed to call her husband, a woman got on the phone, speaking sympathetically, in her native Gujarati.

56岁的德赛是沃尔玛(Wal-Mart)的收银员。她说,当她接过电话,一个声音粗哑的男人告诉她,她在1995年获得美国国籍的时候,没有支付相关费用,如果再不缴费,就会被遣返回印度。当德赛表示需要给丈夫打电话时,电话里传来一个女人的声音,对方说着她的母语古吉拉特语(Gujarati),言谈间充满同情。

“She said, ‘If you involve your husband, there’s going to be more problems,'” Desai said. “'Your husband is going to get in trouble, too. Don’t involve your husband.'”

“她说,‘如果把你丈夫牵扯进来,问题只会更多,’”德赛说。“‘你丈夫也会有麻烦。不要把你丈夫牵扯进来。’”

Desai had begun to cry. Still on the line with the woman, she took all the cash she had on hand and drove to a nearby grocery store, where she bought $1,386 in prepaid debit cards. Then the woman instructed her to go to her bank, transfer close to $9,000 to the account of someone named Jennifer, in California, and then fax confirmation and confidential details about her account.

德赛哭了起来。那个女人还在电话那头等着,她拿上手头的所有现金,开车去了附近的商店,买了1386美元的预付借记卡。接着,那个女人让她前往银行,把将近9000美元转到加利福尼亚州某个叫珍妮弗(Jennifer)的人的户头上,再把确认书及她的保密的账户信息传真过去。

“The bank lady tried to stop me, and she said, ‘This is your personal information,'” Desai said. “But I’m scared, and I faxed it to them because I’m scared of what would happen to my family.” The swindlers, who now had access to her bank balance, called back to demand another sum close to $9,000. Desai had to drive to another bank branch to make the transaction. The total amount she transferred, $17,786, was nearly all her savings.

“银行的女士试图阻止我,她说,‘这是你的个人信息’,”德赛说。“但我很害怕,我把信息传给了他们,因为害怕家人会出事。”骗子们现在可以查看她银行账户里的余额了,他们又打电话过来,让她再汇将近9000美元。德赛不得不开车到另一家分行去转账。转账总额为17786美元,几乎是她的全部积蓄。

Poojary was not the person who called Desai, whose case dates to 2014. But a similar conversation prompted him to contact the U.S. government. He recalled the woman’s name as Regella, and said that when she begged him to give her a little time, Poojary felt so sorry for her that he went to his supervisor, who told him to push harder.

德赛的案子发生于2014年,给她打电话的并不是普贾里。但一次类似的对话促使普贾里联系了美国政府。他回忆说,受骗的女人名叫里格拉(Regella),当女人祈求多给自己一点时间的时候,他内心十分愧疚,于是去跟上级请示,后者却告诉他要逼得更紧一些。

“I just feel guilty at that time,” he said. “We are also Indians. We also don’t have money. They also don’t have money.”

“我当时有种罪恶感,”他说。“我们也是印度人。我们也没钱。他们也没钱。”

The Raid

突袭

The so-called Mira Road scam, named for the building’s neighborhood, had moved into a single floor of the seven-story high-rise in early 2016. By summer it filled the whole building.

所谓的米拉路(Mira Road)骗局是以那栋大厦所在的位置命名的。2016年初,骗子们占据了七层楼中的一层。到了夏天,整栋大厦都是他们的了。

“It got big,” said Daud, the FBI agent. “And when it gets big, you leave breadcrumbs.”

“其规模变得很大,”FBI探员达乌德说,“当规模变得很大的时候,就会露出蛛丝马迹。”

Nitin Thakare, a senior police inspector at the crime branch in Thane, will not say much about the person who contacted him in September with a tip about Mira Road.

塔那重案组的高级警督尼廷·塔卡里(Nitin Thakare)不愿多谈在去年9月份联系他、提供关于米拉路的线索的人。

But he will describe the raid, in loving, cinematic detail: How at 10 p.m., after the last of the call center staff had arrived for the night shift, 200 police officers streamed up the main staircase, blocking every exit and detaining all 700 people who worked inside.

但他会津津有味地描绘那场突袭的细节,其精彩程度堪比电影大片:200名警察如何在呼叫中心的夜班工作人员全部到岗后,于晚上10点冲上主楼梯,封锁每一个出口,把在里边工作的700人一锅端。

“These are the youth of our nation,” Thakare said. “They were misguided. For the first few days it seems glamorous. Someone is teaching them an accent, people are smoking, there are women. There’s freedom and night life. The youth love that.”

“这些都是我们国家的年轻人,”塔卡里说。“他们被误导了。最初的日子似乎很让人着迷。有人纠正他们的口音,大家都在抽烟,还能看到女人。这里有自由和夜生活。年轻人很喜欢。”

The police said that others, like the landlord who had rented the building to the swindlers, wondered why the authorities cared in the first place. “He said, ‘What happened?'” said Parag Manere, a deputy commissioner of police. “'We are not cheating people in India! We are cheating people in the U.S.! And the U.S. cheats the whole world!'”

警方说,其他一些人,比如把大厦租给骗子的业主,不明白当局为什么要在意这些。“他说,‘出什么事了?’”警察局副局长保劳格·马内雷(Parag Manere)说。“‘我们又没骗印度国内的人!我们骗的是生活在美国的人呀!美国可是在欺骗全世界呀!’”

The officers interviewed and released 630 of the call-center workers, arresting the 70 highest-ranking employees.

警方讯问并释放了呼叫中心的670名员工,逮捕了70名高级雇员。

What they had stumbled on, it became clear, was a branch of a much larger network, the police said. Five days later, the police organized a second raid, of facilities in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which they believed to be a nerve center. The U.S. Justice Department had come to the same conclusion: It has since released an indictment tracing 1.8 million calls targeting U.S. residents to five call centers in Ahmedabad that used various schemes to defraud more than 15,000 people out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

警方称,事情逐渐变得清晰了起来,他们端掉的窝点是一个大得多的网络的组成部分。五天后,警方针对一个古吉拉特邦艾哈迈达巴德的地点组织了第二场突袭,他们认为那里是犯罪网络的中枢。美国司法部得出了相同的结论:它公布的一份起诉书显示,从哈迈达巴德的五个呼叫中心打出的180万个以美国居民为目标的电话,让超过1.5万人落入了各种骗局,被骗走了数亿美元。

By the time the police arrived at the Ahmedabad location, though, the syndicate was gone. “The place where we raided, it was a thousand-seat call center,” Manere said. “When we got there it was empty. Empty. Nothing. Not a piece of paper. Empty halls. Empty halls.”

不过,当警方赶到位于哈迈达巴德的窝点时,诈骗集团已经跑路了。“我们突袭的地方,是有着1000个座位的呼叫中心,”马内雷说。“我们赶到的时候,那里已经空了。空荡荡的。什么也没有。连一片纸都没看见。空空如也。空空如也。”

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