From the safety of their home in India, Karan and Arjun Mishra pull off cruel scam after scam. They prey on the vulnerable 5,000 miles away in Britain, persuading them to part with tens of thousands of pounds.

The brothers stole £180,000 from an 83-year-old widow in Somerset by tricking her into believing she was helping them catch criminals. It cost her her life savings.

Another victim, recently retired, is still too ashamed to tell her husband that she was conned out of £10,000. It was a hefty slice of their nest egg.

Karan Mishra (pictured) preyed on the vulnerable 5,000 miles away in Britain after pulling off a number of cruel scams

Karan Mishra (pictured) preyed on the vulnerable 5,000 miles away in Britain after pulling off a number of cruel scams

Karan Mishra (pictured) preyed on the vulnerable 5,000 miles away in Britain after pulling off a number of cruel scams

At least nine more are thought to have been targeted by the shameless pair.

They include Thomas Mulligan, 85, a retired NHS surgeon and devout Christian who is always keen to help others.

When he received a landline phone call from an Amazon cyber security representative who said he needed his help to stop evil hackers, he did everything they asked.

Little did he know that he was on the phone to the very criminals he was helping ‘catch’ – and they were about to drain his bank account. The widower was lulled into a false sense of security because the scammers already knew his bank details. It is likely they bought them online from hackers.

The fraudster’s script

THE FRAUDSTER: Hello sir/mam, My name is Alan Cooper and I am calling you from BT So how are you doing today? I can confirm your default gateway, your IP address which is … This call is in regards to your internet which you are using at your place. 

The reason I am calling you is, from last couple of days, the internet we have provided you, the IP address which is, is being misused outside UK

VICTIM: Where are you calling from?

I am calling you from BT which is in 81, New Gate Street, London, Postcode – EC1A 7AJ.

As per the BT server result and investigation your IP address is being used from Nigeria. So that’s why we called you so that we can stop those intruders rom using your internet or else we have to suspend your account for the next fortnight. OK? 

How do I believe you are from BT?

I can confirm your default gateway, your IP address which is 

I’m not a BT user

No matter, whichever billing company you are with, you are using BT line and network.. 

AS you can understand Mr/Mrs …… that if they have access to your internet connection they can also access your personal information or financial details.

So first of all we have to disconnect your current IP address and provide you with the new IP details, connection and also provide you with proper securities and precaution. 



Karan told him that criminals had used his account and he was being chased for outstanding debt. He asked Mr Mulligan to make a payment of £10,000 into a specific bank account. Then they would be able to follow the money, catch the criminals and refund him in full.

After Mr Mulligan downloaded software under Karan’s guidance, the scammers had complete control over his computer – including all his documents. Details of Mr Mulligan’s passport and ID were all hoovered up.

Now the Mishras would try to empty Mr Mulligan’s retirement pot. They set up a Binance account – a platform to trade cryptocurrency – in his name. This has a stringent verification process: email codes, documents and verification texts are all required.

But the fraudsters jumped through every hoop with ease. They even made Mr Mulligan look into the computer camera and blink three times – helping them pass another hurdle in the race for his cash. Then – just as the brothers went about their business of helping themselves to the pensioner’s retirement pot – Mr Mulligan’s mobile phone began to ring.

And into our story stepped our hero: a crusader against the online scammers, who goes by the pseudonym Jim Browning.

‘Please don’t announce this but I think you’re on the phone with people who are trying to steal your money’, Mr Browning said. Mr Mulligan hung up on the criminals, telling Mr Browning he believed he had been talking to ‘cyber security’ experts. Incensed, the Mishra brothers, still on Mr Mulligan’s computer, began typing, telling him: ‘You hang up the mobile call straight away.’

But it was too late. Thanks to Mr Browning’s dramatic intervention the spell they had worked over the retired surgeon was broken.

Every moment was filmed by Mr Browning, who has turned the tables on the fraudsters and hacked into their computers.

The police were able to track the money and save £5,000. Santander would not refund the outstanding £5,000, though it said it was reviewing that decision.

So just who is Jim Browning – and how did he get involved?

He’s an ethical hacker from Northern Ireland who fought back after he was targeted by bogus callers seven years ago.

An IT worker putting his knowledge to crime-busting use, he has infiltrated the computers of hundreds of scammers – sometimes hacking into three systems a day.

He reckons his one-man crusade has saved victims around £4million by derailing frauds and shutting down calls centres – at least five in India. The largest transaction he has managed to intercept during a live scam was £30,000.

Pictured: a raid on a scam call centre in India. An ethical hacker from Northern Ireland has saved victims around £4million by derailing frauds and shutting down calls centres

Pictured: a raid on a scam call centre in India. An ethical hacker from Northern Ireland has saved victims around £4million by derailing frauds and shutting down calls centres

Pictured: a raid on a scam call centre in India. An ethical hacker from Northern Ireland has saved victims around £4million by derailing frauds and shutting down calls centres

And the vigilante says he has saved ten people from the Kolkata-based Mishras since they targeted him last year. He had software set up to allow him to hack into criminals’ computers.

That meant he was able to alert Mr Mulligan to the true identity of the ‘security experts’.

The terrifying footage Mr Browning recorded shows the scammers connecting to the pensioner’s computer before trying to buy thousands of pounds worth of cryptocurrency.

Never has Mr Browning’s work been more needed, for Britain, it transpires, is the the ‘scam capital of the world’.

We receive far more calls from phone fraudsters than any other country in the G20 and a Daily Mail investigation can reveal that:

  • Fraudsters have exploited the pandemic to steal £2.6billion since May 2020, up by £350million on the previous year. Experts fear the real amount is ‘significantly higher’;
  • The criminals have targeted the elderly, taking £425.3million from the over-70s;
  • They even prey on people aged 90 to 99, taking £80.8million – around £35,000 each on average;
  • Investigators have been shocked by the explosion in ‘mass impersonation’ scams, as fraudsters pose as officials from the NHS, HMRC or Royal Mail;
  • 150,000 victims have authorised payments totalling £479million through their banks to fake officials and just £206.9million has been reimbursed;
  • The National Crime Agency believes a ‘controlling mind’ kingpin based in the UK is steering an international gang responsible for much of the fraud.

Set up on a second computer, Mr Browning’s software allows him to access the criminals’ systems.

This gives him access to vital information including their documents, their location and – crucially – it allows him to monitor their activities.

The anti-fraud crusader has alerts set up for when the criminals turn on their computers – meaning he can protect potential victims. He has also hacked into the security cameras of one call centre – allowing him to watch a room full of fraudsters in action targeting UK victims.

He told the Mail: ‘I was getting really annoyed with scam calls and thought to myself ‘As an engineer maybe I can do something about this – if I can’t, then who can?’

Mr Browning goes along with the frauds, often giving out fake names and credit card details. This has earned him a place on the so-called ‘mugs list’ – a database of names, addresses and phone numbers of people who fraudsters believe are likely to fall for scams. He set up his YouTube account seven years ago in an attempt to warn others. Three years later he began ‘hacking’ into scammers’ computers and sharing the results online.

His videos have been watched more than 201.4million times and he has amassed more than three million subscribers.

The first time Mr Browning gained access to a scammers’ computer was accidental.

‘One of the scammers told me his username and password for his computer and showed me how to reverse the connection, I couldn’t believe it,’ he said.

‘I locked him out of his computer and blacked his screen and I could find out exactly who he was. It’s exhilarating and fascinating.’

Mr Browning said he has prevented more than 1,000 victims – around 20 per week – being scammed.

‘Even last week there was a group of scammers and I was able to stop every one of their victims being scammed out of tens of thousands of pounds,’ he said. ‘It’s satisfying that you’re stopping people losing money and that scammers are scratching their heads as to why the revenue is dropping.’

Mr Browning says some bogus call centres – some of which have been raided by anti-fraud police – employ up to 300 people. Bad luck, then, for the Mishra brothers to run into him.

They will most likely have bought their victims’ details – including addresses and dates of birth – from other fraudsters.

They operated by telling their targets their computer had been hacked and that international criminals were committing fraud using their details.

Using their charm, the Mishras coaxed their victims into downloading TeamViewer – software which gives them remote access to their victims’ computers and mobile phones.

The scammers ask the pensioners to log in to online banking and make a payment of between £5,000 and £10,000 to a ‘safe’ account. They claimed this would help them ‘follow the money’ and catch the criminals in the act.

Once their victims’ accounts were compromised, the crooks aimed to plunder their savings. Mr Browning has been monitoring the brothers’ laptop since last summer.

On it, he found spreadsheets containing thousands of British customers’ personal details, including bank account numbers, passwords and memorable words.

There were also several scam scripts – step-by-step guides detailing what to say to gain the trust of unsuspecting victims – along with logos for major companies.

In one script, the brothers pose as staff from BT to warn victims their computer’s IP address has been ‘misused’ in Nigeria and that fraudsters have access to their ‘personal information or financial details’.

As well as Mr Mulligan, the Mail has tracked down three more people left devastated after the brothers swindled tens of thousands of pounds out of them.

The victims were so embarrassed they wished to remain anonymous. The Somerset grandmother, who lost £180,000, felt ‘ashamed and worthless’ after the Mishras exploited the pandemic to steal her life savings.

The ‘absolutely horrific ordeal’ also robbed her of her self-confidence – making her want to move from the home and village where she has lived for decades.

The bank did refund the missing money. But her daughter told the Mail: ‘We were in the middle of Covid and you’re talking about an old lady who was just about to have a pacemaker put in so she was very vulnerable.

‘It took an enormous toll on her. For a while she didn’t feel safe in her own house because she thought they knew where she lived. She thought they would turn up at her door.’

Another victim in east London nearly lost £20,000 to the scammers in December – but the bank refused the second transfer. She has been unable to recover the initial £10,000.

‘You work hard enough to earn all this money, and then somebody takes it just like that’, she said.

Documents on the criminals’ laptop included several selfies of Karan posing with an expensive watch. Two of the pictures appear to be taken in a call centre, although it is not known whether this is where the fraud took place.

Other files included pictures of their identity documents and a meme depicting a room covered in cash, with the caption ‘the only room I would like to clean!’.

Karan denied all allegations of fraud and scamming when confronted by the Mail outside his family home in Behala, a middle-class area of south-west Kolkata, insisting it was ‘total bulls***’.

He claimed that his only work was helping his father run stationery shops.

Mr Browning said the Mishras’ laptop had been switched on recently but there has been no evidence of them trying to carry out any scams since the Mail confronted them last month. It is not thought they were working with a third party in the UK.

Police in Behala said they continued to investigate online fraud cases, but were not aware of the Mishra brothers or allegations that they had scammed UK residents.

MPs last night called for the Government to set up an anti-scamming workforce to tackle the crisis. Chris Bryant, chairman of the committee on standards, said: ‘The Government must wake up and take immediate action to fight the virus of fraud by warning people so they can protect themselves and start putting the criminals behind bars.’

Tory MP Ruth Edwards called for greater protections against scams to keep ‘pace with both technology and the techniques used by those who seek to do us harm’.

Baroness Williams of Trafford, a Home Office minister, said: ‘We have given an extra £63million to law enforcement so they can crack down on fraud and we are also recruiting specialist fraud officers as part of our commitment to recruit 20,000 new officers.

‘This year alone they have taken down thousands of phone numbers as well as fake websites, email addresses and are going after those responsible for these heinous crimes.’

As for Thomas Mulligan, he knows he has had a narrow escape, saved by Mr Browning’s crucial intervention.

He told the Mail: ‘I thought I was an intelligent person and I was too aware to be caught, but I soon realised people can play on your good nature to scam you.

‘They just seemed so credible that I was fooled. They convinced me. They were very organised.’

Retired for 23 years, he said he was ‘very lucky’ he could cope with the loss but, had Mr Browning not stepped in, ‘it might well have been a different story.’ 

Source: Daily Mail UK

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