Jim Browning (YouTuber)

Jim Browning is the Internet alias of a London-based software engineer and YouTuber from Northern Ireland[1] whose content primarily focuses on scambaiting and exposing scam call centres.

Jim Browning
Jim Browning YT logo 2021.png
Personal information
Occupation
  • Scam baiter
  • Software engineer
YouTube information
ChannelsJim Browning
Years active2014–present
GenreScam baiting
Subscribers3.48 million
Total views222 million
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2018
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2020

Updated: 2 October 2021

ScambaitingEdit

A software engineer by trade,[2] Browning began looking into scammers after a relative lost money to a technical support scam.[3] He has since carried out various investigative scam baits, in which he infiltrates computer networks run by scammers claiming to be technical support experts[4] or posing as US IRS agents, through the use of remote desktop software and social engineering.[5][6][7][8][9] Such scams have involved unsolicited calls offering computer services, or websites posing to be reputable companies such as Dell or Microsoft.[3][4]

BBC Panorama investigationEdit

Browning was featured in a March 2020 episode of the British documentary series Panorama, in which a large-scale technical support scamming operation was infiltrated and extensively documented by Browning and fellow YouTuber Karl Rock. The two recorded drone and CCTV footage of the facility in Gurugram, Haryana and gathered incriminating evidence linking alleged scammer Amit Chauhan, who also operated a fraudulent travel agency called "Faremart Travels'', to a series of scams targeting computer-illiterate and elderly people in the United Kingdom and United States.[10][11][12] During a private meeting with his associates, Chauhan was quoted as stating that "We don't give a shit about our customers", expressing apathy towards his victims. A number of call centre agents under his command were recorded laughing at a British man who admitted to suffering from depression while being conned into paying for a non-existent computer problem.[13] They were also recorded conning a blind woman with diabetes into paying to fix a bogus computer virus.[14] Although Chauhan denied the allegations in a phone interview with the BBC, he was subsequently arrested along with his accountant Sumit Kumar in a raid after the exposé was aired.[15][16]

New York Times interviewEdit

Browning was also the subject of a 2021 article by Indian-American journalist Yudhijit Bhattacharjee of the New York Times where they confronted a small-scale refund scam operation based in Kolkata. Bhattacharjee, who is also a native of Kolkata prior to moving to the United States, documented a scam baiting operation Browning carried out in December 2019 where he intercepted and intervened with a refund scam involving an elderly woman named Kathleen Langer. Langer, who grew suspicious of the call, told the scammer that she would cease further contact with him, only for the scammer to turn belligerent and lock Langer out of her computer using a small utility called Lock My PC; Browning was able to contact the woman and help her with unlocking her computer which was previously compromised. Bhattacharjee later flew to India in hopes of confronting the scammer whom Browning identified as the person who attempted to con Langer out of her money.[3]

AARP reportEdit

The April 2021 issue of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Bulletin contains an 11-page article by the director of AARP's Washington state office, centering on Browning's work fighting cyber scams.[4]

Channel deletionEdit

On July 26, 2021, Browning himself fell victim to scammers, who pretended to be YouTube support and misled him into deleting his own channel.[17][18] Four days later, his channel was reinstated.[19] He explained in a video uploaded on July 30, 2021 that the scammer was able to use Google Chat to send a phishing email from the "google.com" domain and convinced Browning to delete his channel while moving it to a new YouTube brand account.[20]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Wertheimer, Doug Shadel and Neil. "Inside an International Tech-Support Scam". AARP. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  2. ^ Flippin, Alex (20 July 2021). "FF12 dissects scam after Wichitan falls victim". Retrieved 31 July 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit (27 January 2021). "Who's Making All Those Scam Calls?". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Doug Shadel (April 2021). "Inside an International Tech-Support Scam". AARP Bulletin. AARP.
  5. ^ Gelinas, James (20 June 2019). "How some consumers are fighting back against robocalls". Komando.com. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  6. ^ Cellan-Jones, Rory (25 October 2019). "Tech Tent: Shutting down the software scammers". BBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Tech support scammers hacked back by vigilante". Naked Security. 4 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Robocall revenge: Meet the techies turning the tables on scammers". CBS News. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  9. ^ Carlos Christian (8 March 2020). "Confessions of a call-centre scammer". The Union Journal. Archived from the original on 30 October 2020. Retrieved 30 October 2020.
  10. ^ Mooney, John (8 March 2020). "Northern Irish hacker exposes call centre scam in India". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 8 March 2020.(registration required)
  11. ^ "VIDEO: Briti häkker avaldas salvestised petukõnekeskuses toimuvast". Postimees (in Estonian). 3 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  12. ^ McCarter, Reid. "Hacker breaks into scammers' CCTV cameras and computer records". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Panorama - Spying on the Scammers". BBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Spying on the Scammers: Part 3".
  15. ^ "Scam call centre owner in custody after the exposé". BBC News. 4 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  16. ^ Dhankhar, Leena (4 March 2020). "Udyog Vihar call centre duped at least 40,000 in 12 countries; 2 arrested". Hindustan Times. New Delhi. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  17. ^ Leebody, Christopher (28 July 2021). "Northern Ireland YouTuber who exposes scams falls victim to ploy himself". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  18. ^ Halfacree, Gareth (27 July 2021). "Scam-baiting YouTube channel Tech Support Scams taken offline by tech support scam". The Register. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
  19. ^ Jim Browning [@JimBrowning11] (30 July 2021). "Yes.... I'm back. Slightly different channel URL: youtube.com/channel/UCBNG0osIBAprVcZZ3ic84vw I'm trying to get the youtube.com/JimBrowning link updated, but this might take a little longer. Expect a video on the whole debacle later today" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Jim Browning (30 July 2021). My channel was deleted... HOW? (YouTube Video). Retrieved 30 July 2021.

External linksEdit