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Indian Call Center Employees Hack US Bank Accounts

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the easy-money dept.

The Almighty Buck 550

The Ascended One writes "Call center employees working for an Indian software company, MSource, supposedly used confidential client information to transfer client funds to themselves. The alleged perpetrators used the personal information of four NY-based clients to transfer ~$350,000 (Rs. 1.5 crores) in their names, a large sum in Indian currency. They were caught after the victims alerted the bank officials in the US, who then traced the crime to the Indian city of Pune. While the name of the bank has not been revealed, the article indicates that the bank in question is Citibank."

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Easier to track (5, Insightful)

Odo (109839) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174226)

A lot of posts here will no doubt be saying something along the lines "see, this is what happens when you outsource". Well, think about it from an investigator's point of view. If money was transferred illegitimately from a US customer to somewhere in the US, it would be much harder to figure out what was going on than if it was being sent to India. By outsourcing the call center to India, it has made the origin of this sort of fraud much easier to detect.


I'm a system administrator and most of my customers are in the UK. So when I'm investigating an incident on our servers, and the logs show some activity from Brazil, it makes my job a lot easier.

Re:Easier to track (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174254)

I drove across the USA once at a very high rate of speed stopping only for gas & cola and paying by credit card. My credit card company froze my account for the numerous charges across multiple states in such a short time.

Revenge of the outsourcers (-1, Offtopic)

elgatozorbas (783538) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174259)

A lot of posts here will no doubt be saying something along the lines "see, this is what happens when you outsource"

"see, this is what happens when you outsource"

One down, zillions of (-1: Redundant) to go.

Re:Revenge of the outsourcers (1)

DenDave (700621) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174456)

heck and people said Indians were stealing our jobs...

Re:Easier to track (1, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174262)

I think it's worth pointing out that they were apparently caught in the act, so it's not like Citibank was standing by idly and not noticing.

I'd rather have my money in a bank that's recently had such an incident and caught the perps, than one that's still oblivious to the hazard.

-jcr

Re:Easier to track (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174422)

This sounds a lot like an argument for Microsoft products. I'd much rather trust an OS that has been hacked repeatedly than one that hasn't.

Citibank has been the target of many phishing scams and e-mail frauds lately and now this. It will be a cold day in hell before any of my assets are at Citibank!

Re:Easier to track (5, Interesting)

TTL0 (546351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174430)

I work in InfoSec and did a consulting project for a company that sells software (for clearing checks) to a lot of major banks. I was amazed how insecure banks realy are ! however the banks rely on thier ability to audit all transactions more than secure policys and procedures. So to sum up, it is easy to steal from banks it is hard not to get caught.

Re:Easier to track (3, Informative)

csjavi (691714) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174453)

I think it's worth pointing out that they were apparently caught in the act, so it's not like Citibank was standing by idly and not noticing.

Did you RTFA which says:
The customers, from whose accounts the money had been withdrawn, alerted the bank officials in the US, after which the crime was traced to Pune.

So, the bank didn't notice anything, the customers did.

Once bitten (1, Informative)

StormyWeather (543593) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174466)

not so shy [arraydev.com]

Well that explains a lot (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174478)

I own a a company in Europe and part of one in ****.

I ordered products from the **** company and transfered the money to them from Citibank by telephone banking.

I had a call back from Citibank, an 'anti-money laundering' call to check the purpose of the money transfer requesting the telephone number of the **** company to receive the money.

A day later the ***** company receives a call asking for wholesale pricing information from a Indian company that competes with me to the FINANCIAL CONTROLLERS telephone number, not the usual secretaries number.

How did they get that number?

It's not that simple... (5, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174315)

I just have to say that this is a bigger problem than a simple "I told you so".

When you outsource certain operations you are giving people who have no connection with your customers their private information. Banking account numbers? Some people still don't use online banking because it scares them and we don't see this as a huge liability?

Really, what if a few thousand credit card and bank account numbers got into the hands of suspected terrorists? If they made a one time shot at getting items to fence or cash withdraws (wire transfers) and split, they suddenly have resources that was taken right from the American people.

I'm by no means saying that you should be suspect of *any* foreign person or enterprise. I'm thinking of the type of people who *might* get their hands on my/our information. What good is it to give to the people like EPIC [epic.org] when we give our information to people we can't necessarily track down? Can anyone guarantee that we will be able to bring someone to justice, under our laws (and equally for their benefit the Constitution)? I've worked on the phone making sales, and the problem we had was we were banned from taking credit cards because a few people screwed it up for everyone.

Of course, if someone wants the information they can get it. It just makes me wonder why we give our sensitive information to a foreigner when we need parts for our Dell (and by extension everyone else I don't care to list).

Re:It's not that simple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174452)

Can anyone guarantee that we will be able to bring someone to justice, under our laws
Had the perpetrators been in Pakistan and the victims in the UK, the answer would be no. The UK has no extradition treaty with Pakistan. And yet Blair lets more and more of them in. Do you think France would allow Belgians in if they could literally get away with murder by nipping back across the border?

Re:Easier to track (5, Funny)

mister_jpeg (46354) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174339)

yeah! and another good thing about outsourcing is that the dollar goes so much further in countries like India, so the criminals need to steal less! Why, I bet if Citibank hadn't outsourced that call center and the theft had occured in New York or somewhere, it woulda been a couple million!

</idiot mode>



Re:Easier to track (3, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174351)

The problem is jurisdiction. It's a lot simpler to investigate and prosecute crimes when they happen within a single country. Police detectives can obtain warrants and subpoenas from a local judge. They don't have to deal with the State Department, another country's foreign ministry, and prosecutors and police who have their own priorities and may not care if some local boys rip off some foreigners. Extradition, even when there are treaties in place, is relatively rare. It is usually reserved for the most serious crimes, like first-degree murder. Many countries will not extradite their own citizens, as a matter of policy.

Re:Easier to track (5, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174369)

Extradition, even when there are treaties in place, is relatively rare. It is usually reserved for the most serious crimes, like first-degree murder.


Don't forget music piracy!

Re:Easier to track (1)

A.Chwunbee (838021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174470)

police who have their own priorities and may not care if some local boys rip off some foreigners
Oh you silly-billy, of course local polices are caring! Are caring about how much percent of loot is going to thems pockets!

That is how system's working in India.

Re:Easier to track (1)

knomevol (825860) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174354)

I was going to say, "First our jobs, now our money" and something rather graphical - but since you explain it like that! 8P

So they were Indian givers, right? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174228)

Damn.

Re:So they were Indian givers, right? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174372)

Throw 'em in the Black Hole of Calcutta!

That'll show 'em.

Attention Citibank Customer (5, Funny)

DarkHelmet (120004) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174229)

Attention Citibank Customer!

We are sorry to inform you, but your account information has fallen into the hands of employees at an Indian Call center we do work with. Unfortunately, your account may be compromised.

To protect your account, please log into our panel using the link below to change your username and password:

http://www.citibank.com/ [citibank.com]

Thank you for choosing Citi.

Wrong link!! (1, Funny)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174382)

Parent got the link to Citibank wrong! Here is the correct link:

http://www.citibank.com/ [goatse.cx]

(Just kidding. Don't click that link. It's a joke.)

Re:Wrong link!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174462)

(Just kidding. Don't click that link. It's a joke.)

*goatman*
hehe it's not a joke! Click it!!
*Mr Garrison*
My my! Where did he get that picture..
*cartman*
Auw!! My Ass!!

fp? (-1, Offtopic)

/ASCII (86998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174230)

fp?

Re:fp? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174244)

No!

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174245)

YOU FAIL IT

Other FPs (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174231)

F.P. [free pass!?]

What else is outsourced overseas? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174232)

Homeland security stuff? Defense stuff? Yikes.

404 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174234)

404 when I tried to read more?! You're slipping...

Maybe this will see a reversal in the trends of sub-contracting to the sub-continent, though I doubt that there have never been simliar frauds performed by domestic call-center workers...

Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (4, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174238)

It doesn't matter where people are located. What matters is that you have trustworthy people handling your business. And, you know what? Untrustworthy people are everywhere.

I, for one, do not buy into this Lou Dobbs racist/nationalist claptrap that says that we can't trust foreigners. I'm one of the biggest foreigners around, if you consider all the places I have to travel to that I'm not actually a citizen of.

Hey, bad people are in India. And in the U.S. And in Europe. And in Asia. Oh my god! They are everywhere!

Luckily, the bad people are outnumbered by the good. I can just take a look at my lists and figure that one out.

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (5, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174302)

It doesn't matter where people are located. What matters is that you have trustworthy people handling your business. And, you know what? Untrustworthy people are everywhere.
If your employees are proud to be part of the firm, and if you treat them with respect and pay a decent wage, they are less likely to turn to fraud. However, if you treat them like shit and pay peanuts, they are more likely to become disgruntled and commit fraud or (digital) vandalism. Yes, just like in 'Office space'.

The current relentless drive to reduce employee costs to a minimum does not help in that respect, in any country. From what I understand, Indians are currently happy with their current wages (and often very odd working hours). But what will happen when the squeeze from even cheaper Chinese workers is on?

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (5, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174329)

On the other hand, you don't have to be poor to be so consumed by greed that you're willing to steal or commit fraud to further line your pockets. Just look at Enron, Worldcom, etc if you want proof of that.

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (3, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174450)

Nonsense. Most of the fraud committed at banks occurs because of duress. Namely, the husband or boyfriend threatens a teller or personal banker and says "Steal money, or I'll hurt and kill you, or the kids, or the dog." (Yes, you would be surprised how often it is the dog.)

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (1)

Queer Boy (451309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174459)

If your employees are proud to be part of the firm, and if you treat them with respect and pay a decent wage, they are less likely to turn to fraud.

Your statement is a supposition based on US culture. Different countries and cultures have entirely different work ethics.

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (1)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174316)

I agree to saome degree. It doesn't matter if the employees are yellow, red, green or black.

Most/all people are for sale if the price is right. And for people in India, the sum is maybe 1/100th or 1/10th of what it is in the USA. So by outsourcing to a country with low living standards, you can expect more crime because more are tempted.

I have also seen this in a company I worked in. Too much money - and people was tempted.

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (2, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174362)

It doesn't matter if the employees are yellow, red, green or black.
Wait a minute.... green employees? Where the heck does your company outsource to?!

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (1)

router (28432) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174465)

Exactly right. People don't understand this natively, but when I explain it this way they get it:
If your annual wage is 600$, then you can work all year to scam 600$ and its a good job. So putting in what to us is rediculous amounts of work to scam 50$ is normal to someone making that in a month.

This will only continue; witness what happens on the US-Mexico border if you need more evidence. US average income is 4x Mexican with less internal disparity. Now contrast that with India, which is 1/12 US per capita income and even more internal wealth disparity than Mexico.

These idiots just screwed up because they went after wealthy clients; imagine if they took 9 dollar fees monthly from .1% of the bottom quintile of customers and called them legitimate sounding names, then wrote bogus procedures for the call center to follow regarding the fees. They would hvae skimmed billions before they were caught.

andy

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174343)

Except when you try to prosecute them.

The FBI is going to have a much easier time bashing down a door in Hometown, USA than it would in Outsourcedtown, India.

And that's what matters when it comes to trusting people: consequences of incorrect actions and punishments for crimes.

And given the often non-existant cooperation of overseas authorities (who're just as likely to laugh than do anything to help), it's much easier for the perps to disappear if the victim and the perpetrator are in different countries.

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (2, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174363)

In this case they transfered the money to their own bank acount. That is not a very good way to get the money since it very tracable.

Luckily, the bad people are outnumbered by the good.

might i add:
Luckily the the smart bad people are outnumbered by the dumb bad people. 8)

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174365)

Heh, I guess that depends on who you are and where you live. $350,000 is an absolute fortune in India because the cost of living is so low, and you could live in the lap of luxury there with that sort of sum, but elsewhere it wouldn't be much more than a nice lump sum.

For example, that's only about £187,000, which wouldn't buy you much more than a one- or two-bedroom flat (apartment) in London, and even then only in the suburbs. Wealth is relative, especially when the comparison is between what something can buy in the developed world and what it can buy in the developing world.

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (5, Funny)

Alioth (221270) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174381)

I'm one of the biggest foreigners around...

May I suggest you lay off the Big Macs and Whoppers for a while then?

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174386)

Dancin_Santa

I think it's more the milk and cookies.

Re:Indian, Native American, Ukrainian, Nigerian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174427)

Luckily, the bad people are outnumbered by the good.

One of my favorite quotes (and I wish I could remember the source so I could acknowledge it) is:

90% of all people are good. The only problem is that the last 10% more than make up for them!

Office Space virus? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174246)

Is this the virus which rounds off fractions of a penny into an account?

or maybe they messed up a decimal point or two

LOLLOLROFL (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174250)

Got pwned by Indian Call center employees. ROFL ROFL LOLOLOL

not hacking (5, Interesting)

romit_icarus (613431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174252)

I wonder if this can be called hacking, looks more like a combination of poor process and security management on the part of Citi (if it is indeed Citi). Companies in the US should be wary of the extent of employee churn that happens in BPO firms in India. I'm in India, and I often get to hear of ex-employees stealing databases when they leave...

International Outsourcing (2, Insightful)

chrisbeatty (811646) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174255)

I know this could happen to anyone given a lax state of security.

But it's surely much tougher to vet people who have access to your systems when their whole culture is different (nevermind the fact that they're half the world away)

A lot more care needs to be taken when outsourcing internationally, otherwise the savings made will end up being spent on PR & the like after a cock up.

Cover sheets (3, Funny)

avidday (671814) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174257)

If the TPS reports had of had the correct coversheet on them, none of this would have happened!

Re:Cover sheets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174319)

What TPS? I didn't get that memo.

Good for them. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174263)

shame they got caught, though

Begin the racist rants (0, Troll)

heavy_metal_chemist (858632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174268)

Do the editors really need to emphasise that the scammers were indian? I don't want to sound naive but do the editors really want to turn this site into a populist racist forum?

Re:Begin the racist rants (0)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174285)

Assuming that the editors did not point out that they were Indian, I'm quite sure that the trolls would be able to put 2 and 2 together and figure it out.

Racism has nothing to do with the dissemination of information, but more to do with the lack thereof.

Re:Begin the racist rants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174292)

I submitted the article, and I'm an Indian.

It has nothing to do with being racist, it's just a fact. I'd hardly be racist to myself, duh.

Re:Begin the racist rants (1)

heavy_metal_chemist (858632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174324)

If you posted this, why are you now posting anonymously? I can't be bothered to look up references but it is undeniable that slashdot readers are easily provoked into rants against indians. Why provoke it? Is it really important that the scammers were indian?

Re:Begin the racist rants (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174357)

Because I choose to?

It's not important that the scammers were Indian, it is important that employees of an outsourced company were perpetrators of a crime.

I also happen to have my own startup which has an offshore branch - personally, I'd be scared if personal client information were to be misused.

The one reason I did post the Indian part is because I'm hoping that this would get a lot of publicity, and Indian offices would smarten up to such acts by their employees. If you hear about one, you can be assured that there are many more that you don't.

Offshoring and outsourcing is a big thing for India and Indian companies need to take that seriously. If an employee is able to garner significant personal information of clients, then they aren't doing a good job of it.

The only way for them to get that message if this were to get publicity - and business of the said company were to suffer a significant loss for people to send a strong message that they need to do something about this sort of thing.

Bad publicity affects business, and money speaks strongest.

Re:Begin the racist rants (1)

heavy_metal_chemist (858632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174375)

I still don't see how this is an indian issue or even an outsourcing issue. There are crooks in India, there are crooks in the US. If US call-centres were held to a higher standard, perhaps I could understand the point but selling client information and problems with insecure storage of data are universal.

Re:Begin the racist rants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174419)

Eh?

Outsourcing companies handling confidential cient data should be careful about what happens with the information.

Does that dumb it down for you?

Re:Begin the racist rants (1)

heavy_metal_chemist (858632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174445)

No need to get insulting. Perhaps my argument was too subtle. If people in outsourced firms sell data and people in US firms sell client data what does outsourcing have to do with anything. I am against outsourcing for other reasons but insinuating that indian firms are less trustworthy is a bogus claim.

Re:Begin the racist rants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174406)

I submitted the article, and I'm an Indian.

Your race does not matter. What matters, where do you live currently? Unless you're living in India, your alibi is not valid.

The parent erred in condemning your title etc. as "racism". It is not Indian race you're trying to highlight, it is the location. Should we call this "locationism"?

Re:Begin the racist rants (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174301)

Read it again. Where does it say that the criminals were Indian?

Besides, are Indians too good to be thieves?

Re:Begin the racist rants (4, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174320)

I don't think it's racist per se to point out that the scammers were Indian - because they were, and that's not going to change - but it would be racist to extrapolate from that that Indians in general can't be trusted because of the actions of one or two people.

Re:Begin the racist rants (2, Funny)

kubrick (27291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174390)

'Ivan Samuel Thomas' doesn't sound like an Indian name... but that could just be my racist background showing (?).

Not to be a troll but.. (2, Interesting)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174273)

I only hope this news flashes through the industry and gets in the heads of CEOs and PHBs everywhere who then start aborting outsourcing attempts.

If you're in Europe, fear not, the data protection act bars your personal information from leaving the EU (i think?).. unless its going to the CIA so they can have you extradited without trial.. Either way, if you're worried, call up your bank and demand to know where they send your data, its public information by law.

Re:Not to be a troll but.. (4, Insightful)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174297)

So they should start aborting outsourcing attempts because the US doesn't have data privacy laws?

Rather than phoning up your banks and finding out where your information is ending up, which can be a tedious process, shouldn't you be phoning up your congress representatives and asking them to enact laws which provide for your privacy?

Re:Not to be a troll but.. (1, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174396)

I'm not to bothered what the US does, in Europe that information is publicly available pretty easily, however its obvious that the law is being broken here - the number of times ive been called up 'randomly' by an indian telemarketer asking if i want to upgrade my phone is insane, they don't seem to understand the fact that im amish and we don't even have a cell tower or land-line for 100 miles! Its unlikely congress will pass a law that requires 100's of companies to spend millions vetting out-sourced workers or giving customers the right to see their own personal information on record and where its being sent.

Re:Not to be a troll but.. (1)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174451)

How is someone half way across the world supposed to know if you're Amish? If they kept information about your lifestyle, you'd find that to be an invasion of privacy. I'd doubt anyone in Slashdot, much less Pune, India, would have guessed you were Amish.

If it's unlikely Congress will pass a law to help its own citizens protect their privacy, that's a reason to stop voting for those guys, and not a reason to stop outsourcing.

Re:Not to be a troll but.. (3, Insightful)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174338)

I only hope this news flashes through the industry and gets in the heads of CEOs and PHBs everywhere who then start aborting outsourcing attempts.

I'm not sure Indians are any more likely to jot down card numbers that thier minimum-wage US counterparts. Except, of course, that an Indian phone jockey makes a better wage (by local standards), arguably giving them less reason to committ such fraud.

It's annoying when you can't understand what someone says on the phone, sure, but I don't think they're any more likely to be criminals than thier western counterparts.

Michael

Re:Not to be a troll but.. (2, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174384)

You misunderstood, Im not saying they're any different from non-outsourced workers, im just saying i HOPE that people in charge get a knee-jerk reaction to stop outsourcing so that jobs can go back home, in fact in many cases, outsourced people work harder and are more loyal! - thats the whole problem!! who wants to compete with hard-working, loyal and cheap employees? we want our jobs to stay at home.

A large sum in Indian currency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174274)

I believe $350,000 is a large sum in American currency too...

I'll say it is . (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174391)

I can go live like a mahraj in India with that.

Odd that this article is here (5, Insightful)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174275)

When I take credit card info over the phone I could do just the same.

The only slight difference is that it's worth more over there.

So I find it odd that this is considered different.

Re:Odd that this article is here (1)

romit_icarus (613431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174290)

I completely agree. The news article is sensationalising a common theft into a hacking incident!

Re:Odd that this article is here (1)

yahyamf (751776) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174444)

The only slight difference is that it's worth more over there.

That's not the only reason, it's very easy to in India to set up a bank account using a false name and address. Hell, you can even set up a whole new identity passport and all for a couple hundred bucks. I guess these perps were too dumb to do that and got traced easily.

Re:Odd that this article is here (1)

Queer Boy (451309) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174479)

So I find it odd that this is considered different.

It's different because there's no clear path of liability as far as the company is concerned and there is no clear path of prosecution. Of course the money is insured against things like this but when it becomes enough money defrauded it can become a serious problem.

If you steal money in the US (unless you're an exec) you're going to be tried, fined and jailed. What happens if you do it from another country? It's possible that some of the things done to defraud the customers are not illegal. The actual theft is but what gets most people into jail is the crimes committed around the theft.

the bank is the problem (1)

cahiha (873942) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174277)

There are a bunch of banks at which security is poor and at which attitudes surrounding privacy are lax. Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether they outsource or not or where: the problem is the bank and its management.

Us versus Them (3, Insightful)

victorhooi (830021) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174283)

Hi,

Well, it's not so much a case of us-versus-them, but a matter of accountability and proesecuting them. An earlier poster made the case that this makes it somehow easier to track, but I think this is an absolute load of claptrap

Remind me again, exactly how many people are there in India? So how exactly does the fact that you know it originated from India help you? Or say Brazil, China, etc - all of these places, though poor, are in fact heavily populated, densely packed, and often the authorities are loathe to co-operate with foreign officials (honestly - whose side do you think the Indian police force/bureacrats are on?)

Outsourcing critical infrastructure, and potentially dangerous data that can bite you back later is a recipe for disaster.

I'm Australian, and recently there was a furor over Boeing's court victory allowing them to discriminate against Australian workers, and select only US citizens - a lot of Australian's were mad, but I myself thought that Boeing had a perfectly logical argument.

You can call me a racist (fyi, I'm chinese - and the US's witch-hunting of Chinese "spies" irks me, but hey, it's another one on a growing pile of 'em...lol), so what the heck...

Victor Hooi

crores (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174287)

What is it with Indians counting numbers? Even when typing large amounts in numericals, they seem to put commas in unusual places. Could someone explain the system, please?

Re:crores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174318)

1 Crore = 100 Lakhs
1 Lakh = 100 Thousand

So, 1 crore = 100,00,000 (10 million)

In the west you separate groups of three zeroes with commas
In India, we group the last three zeroes together, and thereafter groups of two zeroes are grouped by commas
i.e. 10,00,00,000 = 10 crores

Re:crores (5, Informative)

romit_icarus (613431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174344)

It's just a different way of grouping of decimal places. In India it's common to have them group two decimal places instead of three. Get a better description here: http://www.answers.com/topic/indian-numbering-syst em [answers.com] Globalisation is however making indians, albeit reluctantly, shift to the million/billion system, but it'll take time...

Re:crores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174401)

The (often misnamed 'arabic') numbering system with the numerals zero through nine was invented in India. Were it not for that invention, and its adoption in, first, the arabic world, and later the christian world, we would be using numbers that look more like MMXCVIII. Ever tried doing long division, or working with fractions in Roman Numerals??

Re:crores (4, Informative)

kaalamaadan (639250) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174424)

The system is the, afaik, British/European.

The Least significant 3 digits are grouped together, then it is in groups of two digits each.

For example, 3000000 in American notation is: 3,000,000 [3 million] and in the Indian system is 30,00,000 [30 lakhs].

Also, the commonly used powers of 10 include:

1 lakh - 1/10ths of a million

and

1 crore - 10 millions.

Citibank Outsourcing (5, Interesting)

Coward the Anonymous (584745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174309)

Citicards, the Credit card division of Citibank, got a new CIO several months ago. Mitchell Habib. He came from GE Medical. Before leaving there, he outsourced about 75% of their IT staff to India. He's currently doing the same at Citi. I worked there as a contractor. Two other contractors on the team and I were unable to get our contracts renewed because it came down from on high that all new contracts had to go thru TCS, Tata Consulting Services. They are the Indian outsourcing company that he used in the past. I recently went back to visit some friends and met my replacement. A nice young Indian guy making a third to a quarter of what I made there.

From what I understand, the standard rate for calculating your budget for contract work went from $70/hr to $22/hr. Of course, I believe they charge around $40/hr for their workers in the states.

Can't compete with that.

Here are some links about Mitchell Habib and TCS:

http://www.rediff.com/money/2003/apr/03tcs.htm?zcc =rl [rediff.com]

http://www.tcs.com/0_media_room/releases/200204apr /20020411_ge_medical.htm [tcs.com]

This is taking ... (1, Funny)

bushboy (112290) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174323)

... outsourcing to new heights !

Pluses and Minuses of outsourcing (1)

Seventh Magpie (826312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174325)

Yes there are bad people everywhere so regardless where you set up shop, someone will take advantage. But, there are a lot of uncontrollable issues that arise when outsourcing to another country. Some which I will refer to are related to the enforcement and prosecution of perpertrators. For example: 1) in certain countries, there are no (or very weak laws) against the theft of "information." Mainly this is because the laws only relate to "tangible" items. 2) in certain countries, doing a background check on an applicant is almost impossible. 3) in certain countries, it is acceptable and commonplace to pay off police in lieu of prosecution. 4) in certain countries (and I know this is true in India) it could take as much as 20 years before a case goes to trial For the bank, it's the cost of doing business. And really, the losses are nothing compared to the money saved by outsourcing. I was anti outsourcing until one day I was riding in a car through the slums of Mumbai observing the extreme poverty that most of us could not comprehend. Then it dawned on me how outsourcing is important to young Indians. Seventh Magpie

Re:Pluses and Minuses of outsourcing (1)

Naum (166466) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174350)

Then it dawned on me how outsourcing is important to young Indians

Problem with that statement is that those Indians who are benefiting from the tide of outsourcing, are not those in poverty, but the upper crust of a still rigid class society, that still adheres to the caste system, despite proclaimations to the contrary.

At least this has been the firsthand experience I've had in training offshore replacements -- that these folks were all mostly from rich, well-to-do families, and were sheltered from life, having to call a maintenance man to change a light bulb.

Re:Pluses and Minuses of outsourcing (1)

Seventh Magpie (826312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174368)

Naum,I agree with you 100%. In fact I thought about that while writing the post. But then I thought about Europe's "caste" system and how the industrial revolution created a middle class.

The fact that call centers have flourished in India will excel the high tech industry there. So I thoerize that eventually the rich kids will gravatate towards to management jobs once when opportunities are created, and the call center positions will trickle down to the less fortunate.

Sevent Magpie

There's something weird about the page linked to. (1)

windowpain (211052) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174340)

It keeps reloading and reloading and reloading... I didn't have the patience to try to read the source to find out what it is. But it's creepy to hit the down arrow on your back button and see the same page listed halfway down your screen. WTF?

It's all relative... (5, Insightful)

otter42 (190544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174342)

The alleged perpetrators used the personal information of four NY-based clients to transfer ~$350,000 (Rs. 1.5 crores) in their names, a large sum in Indian currency.

I would have thought $350,000 is a large sum in ANY currency.

Brother, can you spare $350K?

I'm surprised this does not happen more often. (5, Interesting)

neckdeepinspecialsau (756133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174345)

I once called a creditor of mine and was obviously routed to an overseas call center. The gentleman on the other end of the phone after asking me my issue asked me my social security number. I was hesitant to give it away to a guy in india making $.50 an hour but figured I was being paranoid. I gave him the number and he said please hold. The next thing I knew he put me on hold and I was transferred to another service representative (in the us) who also asked for my social security number. Well needless to say I let them have it basically "Why would they ask me for my social security number to transfer me?" I started checking my credit report and stopped doing business with the bank. Nothing came of it and I was being paranoid but the reality is this sort of thing can happen anywhere. At a restaurant you give the server your card. Most servers make low wages and they take your card off to the back room usually.

So.. (5, Funny)

ASkGNet (695262) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174346)

I really should update my account details in Citibank, as per the email that I got awhile ago.

They said my monies will be stoeled if I don't

Sigh.... (2, Insightful)

nberardi (199555) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174347)

This brings into issue all the medical, supposidly confidental, data that gets sent to India for transscribing. I hope companies from around the world take a look at the amount of personal information they are sending to around the world with out thought of who might be watching it.

Re:Sigh.... (1)

fabu10u$ (839423) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174428)

I once had a conversation with an Indian contractor about prior projects we had each worked on. He mentioned creating a system for an outsourcer that addressed the privacy question in this way: They chopped form images into pieces (each different field, if I remember right) and sent the pieces to different operators for entry. So one person would enter the first name, another the last name, etc.

Unfortunately for our article, chopping up customer service e-mails would render them unintelligible.

Re:Sigh.... (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174469)

Yeah, good call. I'd much rather have a secretary who goes to the same church as my family typing up the results of an STD test report than some woman in India.

Re:Sigh.... (1)

nberardi (199555) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174474)

First of all why not have the doctor type it up? And most of the time STD tests are sent away for to a central testing company. So no worries with that.

But security threats are multi-faceted (3, Insightful)

Superdad (847315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174378)

Do the editors really need to emphasise that the scammers were indian? I don't want to sound naive but do the editors really want to turn this site into a populist racist forum?

Security is a 'system', and altering or extending a system, can open it to risk that were not originally envisaged when it was established. Adding a new site, adding additional computer systems, new network(s), new operative etc all can alter the security threat mix.

Extending a secure system to a new country, a new language group, a new multi-cultural mix, will also expose the system to a new mix of threats. Ths issue of extending such a system to a different continent, particularly if the operatives there are working at the higher(est) levels, entails exposing the system to all the differences between the new location and the old.

Whether the staff are physically in India or hold Indian state passports is incidental. The significant factors are, a) how close or removed they are from the cultural assumptions of the systems designers, b) how exposed they are to personal weakness, c) how exposed they are to external influence. These are sometimes referred to as Antipathy, Jealousy, Poverty, and Corruption. Placing a call centre in Dehli, Amritsar or Goa would vary the mix, as would placing it in Belfast, Glasgow or Ipswitch.

Re:But security threats are multi-faceted (0)

TTL0 (546351) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174407)

Do the editors really need to emphasise that the scammers were indian? I don't want to sound naive but do the editors really want to turn this site into a populist racist forum?

to late. you should see what happens when a story involves homosexuals,jews or other people who think or act different from the ./ crowd

What's the news??? (3, Insightful)

doktorstop (725614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174383)

Looks like a slow day for Slashot if this type of stories get posted =)

According to the police, Thomas, who worked in the callcentre for six months before quitting the job in December 2004, had the secret pincodes of the customers' e-mail IDs, which were used to transfer money. In January, he roped in his friends and transferred money from four accounts of the bank's New York-based customers into their own accounts, opened under fictitious names.

The story doesn't even have enough info to classify it as social engineering. People used confidential information to transfet funds. Ok, they used the Internet to do the transfer. Ok, they got PINs from customer emails. What's in there to learn? Where are the "news for nerds" here?

In Soviet Russia (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12174395)

In Soviet Russia, US bank hacks indian callcenter!

Finally... (1)

Bloodlent (797259) | more than 9 years ago | (#12174475)

The Indian outsource workers fight back after everyone mocking them on Slashdot! Watch out, next they might steal your job...oh, wait.
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