An alleged scammer accused of boasting about stealing cash from vulnerable, hard working Australians has gone to ground ahead of a televised exposé on his exploits.
Karan Mishra was flaunting his wealth on Instagram and Facebook – sharing global trips and posing in front of luxury cars while draped in designer clothes – as recently as this week.
Scam crusader Jim Browning first exposed Mishra in 2021 in an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, revealing was monitoring the 29-year-old after learning he ripped off vulnerable pensioners in the UK.
Mishra denied all allegations when confronted by the Mail outside his family home in Behala, a middle-class area of Kolkata, India, insisting it was ‘total bulls**t’.
He claimed that his only work was helping his father run stationery shops in India.
Karan Mishra was flaunting his wealth on Instagram and Facebook – sharing global trips and posing in front of luxury cars while draped in designer clothes – as recently as this week
But it appears he has since set his sights on Australian targets. Mishra wiped his social media clean of his extravagant lifestyle just hours ahead of a segment on his exploits on 7News Spotlight.
It’s alleged phone recordings – captured after Mr Browning hacked into Mishra’s phone call centre in India – reveal Mishra to be an unapologetic thief.
‘There is nothing called humble — poor people are humble people,’ Mishra is alleged to have told a friend in the tapped phone call.
‘Once you get $100,000 in your pocket, the first thing in your mind is how to make $200,000; a million; a billion.
‘I need to purchase a private jet but I need some (more) money. I need to buy a private jet.’
In the same conversation, Mishra allegedly boasted of bedding multiple women each night and drinking Blue Label Johnny Walker whiskey worth $750.
This is despite appearing to be in a committed relationship since 2016, according to his social media.
Scam crusader Jim Browning first exposed Mishra in 2021, telling the Daily Mail that he’d been monitoring his associates after they ripped off vulnerable pensioners in the UK
Mishra has allegedly conducted scams against vulnerable Australians and pocketed almost $1 million from a woman with dementia in the UK.
One such victim was Thomas Mulligan, 85, a retired British NHS surgeon who received a landline phone call from an Amazon cyber security representative asking him to help stop evil hackers.
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.
Mishra 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 (AU$17,500) into a specific bank account. Then they would be able to follow the money, catch the criminals, and refund him in full.
Mishra denied all allegations when confronted by the Mail outside his family home in Behala, a middle-class area of Kolkata, India, insisting it was ‘total bulls**t’
Scam text messages are not only annoying but also malicious and have the potential to steal people’s money or install malware to steal personal information, hack their internet banking and infect their contacts, Telstra says
After Mr Mulligan downloaded software under Mishra’s guidance, the scammers had complete control over his computer – including all his personal documents.
Mr Browning – who was monitoring Mishra at the time of the scam – was able to contact Mr Mulligan and stop the transaction from going through.
He believes he has prevented more than 1,000 victims – around 20 per week – being scammed.
He told the Daily 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.
When Mr Browning hacked into Mishra’s computer, he claims he found s preadsheets containing thousands of customers’ personal details, including bank numbers and passwords
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 192.168.1.254 … 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 192.168.1.254, 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 192.168.1.254
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.
His videos have been watched more than 201.4 million times and he has amassed more than three million subscribers.
Mr Browning says some bogus call centres – some of which have been raided by anti-fraud police – employ up to 300 people.
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.
Mishra allegedly coaxed his victims into downloading TeamViewer – software which gives him remote access to his victims’ computers and mobile phones.
Once their victims’ accounts were compromised, the crooks aimed to plunder their savings.
When Mr Browning hacked into Mishra’s computer, he claims he found spreadsheets containing thousands of customers’ personal details, including bank numbers and passwords.
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, Mishra allegedly poses as an employee for a big company 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’.
Documents on the criminals’ laptop included several selfies of Misha 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 identity documents and a meme depicting a room covered in cash, with the caption ‘the only room I would like to clean!’
Thousands of Australians fall prey to international scammers each year.
Many have noticed a spike in text and email scams throughout the pandemic, with some noting they’re receiving multiple texts a day from unknown numbers.
This year alone, almost $205 million has been lost to scammers. Most commonly, they pose as the Australian Tax Office, Amazon, or Microsoft.
problem The got so bad that Telstra rolled out a new SMS scam filter to counteract the amount of customers falling victim to scams.
Scam text messages are not only annoying but also malicious and have the potential to steal people’s money or install malware to steal personal information, hack their internet banking, and infect their contacts, Telstra said.
‘We know the number of scam text messages on our network is on the rise: in 2021 we had more than 11,000 reports of malicious texts to Android devices compared to 50 reports in 2020,’ chief executive Andy Penn said.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last year noted phones were the most common way for scammers to target victims and also the most successful in terms of financial loss.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said the scammers were improving their tactics to steal more money.
‘It’s very concerning to see these scams evolving and becoming more sophisticated to steal even more money from unsuspecting people,’ she said.
Mishra shared photos online detailing his life of luxury, despite claiming his only income was helping his dad out in stationary stores