Several devices were found plugged into computers at the call centres in Mira Road during the police raid last week. The police later learnt that these were Magic Jack Express, a business digital phone service used to make unlimited local and long-distance calls to the United States and Canada.
A cheap Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service, these can be used at home or on-the-go. A high-speed internet service is needed to make calls from landlines or mobiles using this device.
Investigators said the device has not been approved by the Department of Telecommunications. Those found at the call centres could have been smuggled into the country. However, research revealed that they are being sold locally in different calling packages for Rs4,500-5,000 by e-commerce companies such as Amazon.
How does it work?
A Magic Jack Express can be set up in a few minutes:
Plug one end of the ethernet cable into the Magic Jack and the other into the high speed router (or modem).
Plug a phone, either landline or mobile, or even a laptop or desktop into the other jacket.
Plug the other part of the jack into the power adapter. Plug the power adapter into a power outlet.
The home page of the jack will be displayed on the monitor, asking the subscriber to register.
Details such as the telephone number and address are required to register. Police said the fraudsters used United States telephone numbers, which begin with 1, and addresses obtained from hackers to mask their identities.
The jack then offers you a particular number to make VoIP calls.
The fraudsters at the Mira Road call centres would use that number to message their victims, claiming it was the inquiry number of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The unsuspecting victims would call that number, believing it to be a genuine telephone number belonging to the United States. The calls would be routed to the Mira Road call centre.
To manage multiple calls simultaneously, the call centre used a software called ’Eye Beam’, which diverts calls to separate ports (receivers) like an exchange.
When the number of incoming calls exceeded the number of ports, the call centres installed management hardware to pass on the extra calls to ports in other call centres.