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The Almighty Buck Security

Indian Call Center Employees Hack US Bank Accounts 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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Indian Call Center Employees Hack US Bank Accounts

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  • Re:Easier to track (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @05:57AM (#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.
  • Re:crores (Score:5, Informative)

    by romit_icarus ( 613431 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:20AM (#12174344) Journal
    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: em [] Globalisation is however making indians, albeit reluctantly, shift to the million/billion system, but it'll take time...
  • Re:Easier to track (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:46AM (#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:crores (Score:5, Informative)

    by kaalamaadan ( 639250 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:47AM (#12174424) Journal

    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


    1 crore - 10 millions.

  • Re:Easier to track (Score:3, Informative)

    by csjavi ( 691714 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @06:58AM (#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 (Score:1, Informative)

    by StormyWeather ( 543593 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @07:03AM (#12174466) Homepage
    not so shy []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @07:06AM (#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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @07:08AM (#12174485)
    Although this particular sort of naive fraud is unlikely to repeated for a while at Citibank, Citibank has a history of association with much more sophisticated and serious fraudulent activity. I refer to Citibank's crucial role in suggesting, creating, structuring, and maintaining the complex banking and hedging schemes for both Enron and WorldCom. Forget the Enron and WorldCom directors for a moment. The Citibank directors who were involved should be held accountable for their contribution to the frauds and yet they have all somehow managed to evade proper censure; indeed they still hold company office - that's absolutely not right. The SEC and AG have done nothing with any of them. Let's avoid using Citibank and let's see why they they get away with their activities...

    Some background on Citibank's unresolved history of association with serious fraud:

    here []
    here []

  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @07:20AM (#12174531) Homepage Journal
    'Ivan Samuel Thomas' doesn't sound like an Indian name...
    Many customers are (rightly or wrongly) against offshoring and so Indian call-centre employees often use English-sounding pseudonyms. Some companies go as far as briefing their drones on the weather, football & soap-operas. Some can even put on regional accents.
  • by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @07:28AM (#12174564)
    Mind you, piracy in the UK had the death penalty as recently as 1998, although it was abolished for murder in 1969. See History of Capital Punishment []
  • by kcbrown ( 7426 ) <> on Friday April 08, 2005 @07:47AM (#12174631)
    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.

    While this is true, and while I agree with your general sentiment, it doesn't address the core problem here.

    And that problem is that by outsourcing anything, whether it's to an entity in the same country or to an entity in a different country, you are intentionally throwing away control over the process in question.

    It's important to ask whether or not the process being outsourced is a required part of the business. If it is, then it's probably something that can't be trusted to an outside entity. And if it's not, then perhaps one should consider ditching it entirely.

    IT, for instance, is a required part of most businesses these days. While IT itself may not be what the company in question specializes, in, most companies would be insane to outsource their IT operations, because the consequences to the company of their IT processes being implemented poorly can be very high indeed. It's reasonable to get additional help via contractors and such, but only when there's direct oversight of the contractors by employees of the company.

    This is why I tend to be against the notion of outsourcing business processes of any kind -- it's a dangerous, foolish thing to do. Any business process that is a reasonable candidate for outsourcing is likely to also be a reasonable candidate for dropping entirely.

    Now, how does this relate to the original article? Simple: if the bank in question had kept the call center an in-house operation, they would have had direct control over the security procedures used to maintain customer confidentiality. By outsourcing, they intentionally chose to relinquish control over everything involved in running a call center (which includes how sensitive information is handled) to the company they outsourced their call center operations to. Now their customers are suffering the consequences.

  • by PureCreditor ( 300490 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @07:49AM (#12174639)
    Try Turkey's *old* Lira - TRL -

    1 USD = 1.35million TRL

    so 350,000TRL = 26 cents
  • by DarkHelmet ( 120004 ) * <mark.seventhcycle@net> on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:06AM (#12174715) Homepage

    Check the source of the page.

    document.location = "moron.htm"

    It DOES NOT do a post to anywhere, and therefore I can't collect any info.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @08:46AM (#12174892)
    Feel free to automatically Score this as 0, however these are facts.

    1) India is pissed at the US cause the USA is allowing Pakistan to buy fighter planes, and because the US is trying to prevent India from building an oil pipeline from Iraq to India (hey, that's Halliburton's job)

    2) 10% of Indians are Moslems. That's over 100 million, which isn't trivial. After 911, that frightens me.
  • by Mattintosh ( 758112 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @09:30AM (#12175240)
    You missed the point. Let me help you out a bit.

    Main Entry: sarcasm
    Pronunciation: 'sär-"ka-z&m
    Function: noun
    Etymology: French or Late Latin; French sarcasme, from Late Latin sarcasmos, from Greek sarkasmos, from sarkazein to tear flesh, bite the lips in rage, sneer, from sark-, sarx flesh; probably akin to Avestan thwar&s- to cut
    1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain
    2 a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual b : the use or language of sarcasm
    synonym see WIT

    All the crimes he mentioned were done by American citizens. Bombing federal buildings? McVeigh. Mailing bombs to universities? Kaczynski. Sniping people in Washington DC? Malvo. At least two of them thought they were fighting for their country, which they (somewhat correctly) saw as having been overrun by greedy corporate/big government idiots. I'm pretty sure Malvo was just getting a kick out of killing people.

    In light of these examples, the "War on Terror" looks like a silly, yet all-too-serious, grab for power. In other words, I think you're preaching to the choir.
  • by Reaperducer ( 871695 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:31AM (#12175833)
    Apologies for the bad puns.

    You're bark ing up the wrong tree with that one. With so many shady characters on Slashdot, you're bound to find one with roots in the heart of the problem. Then again, if you're lucky you might find one with a deciduous personality who won't needle you about it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 08, 2005 @10:53AM (#12176044)
    It's a private number I don't give out. They identify themselves before the call by giving you details of the money transfer you asked for.

    So its not a blind call.
  • by alphakappa ( 687189 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @11:15AM (#12176288) Homepage
    "Do I stay a poor slave, or take a chance at the HIGH life. My good side (If I have one) is saying: No, don't do's wrong. But the gravity is much stronger on the other side. I've been poor and unfed all my in a place where being in jail could mean I get fed at least daily....."

    Do you even know what you area talking about? Call center workers are not 'poor slaves'... they make more money than the average Indian, and have better working conditions. Heck, please do get out of your well and learn more about the world around you.
  • by xilet ( 741528 ) on Friday April 08, 2005 @01:49PM (#12178121)
    There are liberals in congress? I see democrats but no liberals.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.