Monday, June 15, 2009

Credit Card Fraud in India Reported by BBC: Some Observations

I find it sometimes confusing to understand the obsession of British media about reporting of call center frauds in India. In the past, Channel 4 did it and also The Sun newspaper. This time, it is BBC whose reporters carried out a sting operation to find credit card details from a man in India named Saurabh Sachar. They paid this man some money and in return he gave them some credit card information of some British citizens. Now, it has become a big news in BBC and some other British Media. Now, you can expect to find a healthy amount of discussion in the British media about the safety of their credit card details and then the issue will be out of the public horizon. In fact, England football team will play against Slovakia next week. So, people will have no problem to forget this sting report of BBC.

The same thing will happen in Indian media too. NASSCOM leaders will talk about taking extra security measures and then Indian media will busy with Indian Premier League and the upcoming general election. I am confident that there will be no follow up from either side. Outsourcing is a win-win situation for both India and UK. UK consumers want inexpensive solution for everything. The shareholders want more profit and the best way the companies can cut cost is to outsource as many jobs as possible to India. This way, the companies would need to pay a fraction of the money that they used to pay their workers in UK. On the other hand, outsourcing is now the most important export sector for India. They have a huge pool of educated workers who are skilled in English language.

It is natural that British companies and consumers and Indian companies and workers enjoy the benefit of outsourcing. So, outsourcing is here to stay. The British consumers do not mind a security glitch of few credit cards every year as long as they can get the service without spending a lot of money. On the other hand, Indian workers in the outsourcing field do not get a very lucrative salary that you can expect highest level of professionalism from them. In fact, looking at their salary, I have to praise their level of honesty.

This BBC sting operation has perhaps come at a bad time for the outsourcing sector of India. The outsourcing industry is yet to recover completely from the negative publicity that it received as a result of Satyam Computer scandal. BBC sting operation will also bring more negative publicity. BBC has done its work and I have no problem with it. However, what I want to see from BBC is that it gives regular updates about this matter. BBC should also depict the condition of workers working in call centers. It should try to educate the British consumers about call centers in India.

I feel that the salary and other facilities of call center workers in India should be increased significantly. Some are calling for tougher legislation in India against data theft and call center fraud. I agree with this call and I feel that Indian government should do it. However, you have to understand that as long as the workers in India get poor salary, the risk will not be minimized. In fact, according to BBC sting report, Saurabh Sachar offered to pay the details of credit cards at the rate of just $10 dollars a card. It shows that the call center worker who took this risk and broke the law and gave the information to Saurabh Sachar did it for a very small amount of money. I mean, he got a percentage of money from $10 a card.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not supporting credit card fraud or I am not even suggesting that Saurabh Sachar and the unknown call center worker who did the crime should not be punished because they do not earn a lot of money. I want both of them to be punished if found guilty by a law court. All I am trying to say is that as long as the call center workers do not get good salary and they have to deal with such sensitive information, there will be many more incidents of call center fraud activities. Media organizations like BBC should not only just carry out some sting operations but also should do some more investigative reports about the condition of call center workers in India.

Related Article

Credit card details of Britons sold at $10 each

Indian call centre credit card ’scam’ exposed

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