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PayPal ‘kept scammer’s account open’ despite warning he was conning Brits

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PayPal failed to close a fraudster’s account for eight months despite being warned he was using it to cheat innocent people, an investigation has revealed.

BBC’s Panorama has identified Amit Chauhan as the man behind a criminal call centre in Delhi, India that was conning people in the UK, US and Australia out of around $400,000 (£310,000) a month.

The programme obtained hacked CCTV footage from inside the call centre and the recordings of 70,000 scam phone calls.

The scammers placed a pop-up message on a victim’s computer that said it had been infected with pornographic spyware and that they should call Microsoft for urgent technical support.

When people called the number on their screens, which had nothing to do with Microsoft, they were charged hundreds of pounds to have their computer ‘fixed’.

Panorama’s evidence shows cash from some scam victims went directly into Amit Chauhan’s PayPal account.

One victim from the UK, Perry Adams, said: “They [scammers] sent me an invoice via email but I think before that even arrived I’d been in touch with PayPal and I told them, ‘I believe I’ve been scammed,’ and explained to them what had happened.

“They said that it was not a problem, they would refund the money and they would take up the issue on my behalf and investigate it.”

PayPal did refund the money, but Panorama discovered that it hadn’t closed down Mr Chauhan’s account.

Eight months after PayPal was warned about the scam, the fraudster was still using his PayPal account to cash in.

PayPal told the BBC it couldn’t comment on the case.

A spokesperson said: “We never lose sight of the fact that we are entrusted to look after people’s money. We take this responsibility very seriously and use advanced fraud and risk management tools to keep our customers and their payments safe.

“PayPal will refund consumers who did not receive what they paid for, or find the goods or services they received weren’t what they ordered.”

Amit Chauhan denied he was running a scam, but he didn’t answer Panorama’s questions.

The UK receives a staggering 21 million scam calls every month, which equates to eight every second. Many of them come from India.

Spying on the Scammers, Panorama airs tonight on BBC One at 8:30pm


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