Charges Laid in International Fraud and Cybercrime Investigation

Posted On Wednesday December 20, 2023

Region of Peel - On Tuesday, December 19, 2023, investigators from Peel Regional Police Cyber Support Services and the Fraud Bureau, with assistance from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) and U.S. law enforcement agencies, concluded a year-long investigation and laid charges in a cyber-enabled fraud scheme that occurred between January of 2020 and February of 2022.

Jayant Bhatia, a 34-year-old man from Brampton, is charged with Unauthorized Use of a Computer, Fraud Over $5000, and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime in connection with a transnational computer technical support scam that targeted elderly victims across Canada.

The technical support scam tricked victims into believing that their personal computers were infected with a virus or malware through various means, including spam phone calls or pop-up ads that would appear on the victims’ computer screens. Victims were then put in contact with call centre agents who convinced them to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for unnecessary computer repair services. In some cases, victims were tricked into allowing these call centre agents to access their computers remotely. Approximately 330 Canadians fell victim to this scam, with fraud losses estimated at $500,000.00.

The three business names primarily used to defraud the victims are A2Z Consultants Group Inc., QB Services, and SSS Consultants.

The scam operated in Brampton, New Dehli, India, and New York/New Jersey, USA. Authorities in India and the United States have also laid charges against the people who participated in this fraud scheme.

"Police will investigate computer scams and fraudulent activities that jeopardize our community's personal information and digital well-being. As the use of technology continues to evolve, so do the methods employed by online threat actors seeking to exploit unsuspecting individuals. Peel Regional Police recognizes the importance of a secure online environment for our community members. We remain committed in our efforts to combat computer scams and online fraud, and we encourage the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities." Detective Sergeant Matthew Hutchinson, Intelligence Services, Cyber Support and Digital Forensics

Peel Regional Police would like to thank their national and international policing partners for their assistance during this investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Fraud Bureau at (905) 453–2121, ext. 3335.  Information may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or by visiting peelcrimestoppers.ca.

For media inquiries, please contact the on-duty Media Relations Officer at (905) 453-2121, ext. 4027.   

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