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Software fraudster jailed for impersonating Microsoft

by on26 February 2019

It might have got a few more laughs if he had done Ronnie Corbett instead

A fraudster has been sentenced to 28 months after impersonating Microsoft and claiming to fix victims' computers while installing malicious software.

Baljindher Singh, 39, of Marshall Wallace Road, South Shields, was part of a scamming group that contacted victims and told them of a fault on their computer, which they said they would fix for a fee.

The group would then install software on the machines to steal more money.

Singh was identified as part of a scam that was based in Delhi, India, and would send money back to the region after having victims pay into a UK bank account.

It is believed that he helped steal £400,000 from victims, pocketing "tens of thousands of pounds" for himself.

The investigation was carried out by the City of London Police and the North East Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), with support from Microsoft.

The police force said that Singh is just the third person to be convicted of software fraud in the UK, after pleading guilty at Newcastle Crown Court on 3 December. He also admitted possession of criminal property with intent to money launder.

Abrahim Bakhtiar, senior attorney with Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit, said: "This is an excellent result for people who have been targeted by or fallen victim to these criminals.

"We work closely with law enforcement both here in the UK and internationally to tackle this kind of fraud, and we have recently expanded our cybersecurity programme to safeguard our customers further. We want to reassure all users of our products that Microsoft will never cold call you out of the blue. "If you receive an unsolicited tech support call or pop up from anyone claiming to be from Microsoft or representing Microsoft then it is a scam."

The City of London Police said that the average age of victims of this crime is 62, with the average pay-out standing at £600.

The force said that, in the financial year ending 31 March 2017, it received over 34,500 computer software service fraud reports with estimated losses pegged at more than £20 million.


Last modified on 26 February 2019
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