Jim Browning (YouTuber)
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Updated: 2 October 2021
A software engineer by trade, Browning began looking into scammers after a relative lost money to a technical support scam. He has since carried out various investigative scam baits, in which he infiltrates computer networks run by scammers claiming to be technical support experts or posing as US IRS agents, through the use of remote desktop software and social engineering. Such scams have involved unsolicited calls offering computer services, or websites posing to be reputable companies such as Dell or Microsoft.
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. 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. They were also recorded conning a blind woman with diabetes into paying to fix a bogus computer virus. 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.
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.
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.
On July 26, 2021, Browning himself fell victim to scammers, who pretended to be YouTube support and misled him into deleting his own channel. Four days later, his channel was reinstated. 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.
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- Leebody, Christopher (28 July 2021). "Northern Ireland YouTuber who exposes scams falls victim to ploy himself". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- Halfacree, Gareth (27 July 2021). "Scam-baiting YouTube channel Tech Support Scams taken offline by tech support scam". The Register. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- 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.
- Jim Browning (30 July 2021). My channel was deleted... HOW? (YouTube Video). Retrieved 30 July 2021.