To Protect Call Centres, Nasscom Calls Cops
Industry body to form a panel with West Bengal police to prevent cybercrime and data frauds in the BPO space
New Delhi: Nasscom will be working with the West Bengal Police to set up a coordination committee to prevent cybercrime and data frauds, especially in the business process outsourcing (BPO) space. The initiative will set up a nodal cell that will be supported by cyber forensic labs, and will work to carry out surveillance and investigation, as well as put preventive practices in place. “Nasscom has put together a task force in order to position India as the safest outsourcing destination in the world. Early on, Nasscom came to the conclusion that active cooperation and coordination on action with the law enforcement authorities would be key for the prompt redressal of the situation and in sending out a strong message that fraudulent KESHAVMURUGESH, acts would not go unpunished,” said Keshav Murugesh, chairman of Nasscom BPM Council.
The problem is not a new one. Cases of data fraud and stealing sensitive customer data such as credit card information by BPO employees based in India have been reported as far back as 2005, when five employees of a company called MsourcE — the BPO arm of MphasiS BFL—were arrested for siphoning off funds worth nearly half a million dollars.
Last year in May, the Federal Trade Commission of the US settled claims in a cyber fraud case that came to light in 2012. It involved a company called American Credit Crunchers and its owner, Varang Thaker, who were charged with “victimising consumers who had received or inquired about online pay-day loans,” according to a statement on FTC’s website.
The case ended last year with the FTC returning $16,428.74 to the affected customers.
More recently, in October 2015, British telecom group TalkTalk was at the receiving end of a major data breach that led to the theft of details of nearly 157,000 of its customers, including their bank account numbers. Following the attack, three Wipro call centre employees in Kolkata were arrested by the local authorities.
Pointing out that cases of cyber fraud are not limited to India, Murugesh said: “These fraud- sters use coercion/pressure tactics on unsuspecting customers globally, often utilise the anonymity of internet and telecommunication to communicate, and misuse the various financial mediums to transfer the money to their accounts.”
According to industry, the problem lies in the fact that very few customers report such fraudulent activity, and the Indian state and law enforcement agencies cannot take action until a complaint is registered with them. Besides, training in cybercrime is also limited.
With this partnership, Nasscom is also trying to bridge that gap. “The recently set up Consumer Interest Protection Task Force will discuss and recommend actions that can enable quicker cross-border, inter-agency cooperation for filing and resolution of consumer complaints,” said Murugesh.