Police bust call centres duping US citizens, arrest 95, detain 2
Ninety-five people, including 19 women, were arrested for allegedly running two fraud call centres in Delhi’s Kirti Nagar and Mangolpuri from where they contacted the US citizens impersonating as officials of the country’s social security administration and duped them of their money by threatening to revoke their social security number (SSN), police said on Wednesday.
The alleged suspects were using illegal techniques, VOIP calling, bypassing the legal international long distance (ILD) gateways for cheating the US citizens. A total of 82 computers, five laptops, 84 mobile phones and 48 identity cards were seized from the two call centres following simultaneous raids conducted at both the premises by teams of the crime branch on Tuesday night. Two minor boys working as tele-callers at the Mangolpuri call centre were also apprehended, the police said.
This is the second such operation carried out by the Delhi Police in less than a fortnight against fraud call centres involved in cheating the US citizens. On June 24, 84 people were arrested for allegedly running an illegal call centre and duping thousands of the US citizens of their money by posing as employees of a leading e-commerce company and offering assistance in solving technical issues regarding the company’s services. Ninety-three laptops, four computers and two SUVs were seized along with ₹64.30 lakh from the arrested persons.
Deputy commissioner of police (crime) Manoj C said in the latest raids both the call centres were running for the past three to four months. The exact number of the US citizens cheated by the arrested persons and the total amount is still being ascertained. The fraudsters were running the call centres in the garb of a travel agency ’The Global Airfares’.
Explaining the modus operandi, the DCP said the mastermind and other key players of the racket obtained the database of the US citizens through their contacts, whom they call “blockers”, based abroad. The database having details of the citizens such as their names, social security numbers, addresses and contact numbers, were given to the tele-callers, who are trained in speaking English with the American accent .
The tele-callers contacted the US citizens by impersonating the officials of the US Social Security Administration and intimidated them that their social security number will be revoked because of some fraudulent transactions detected by the department. They tricked the citizens into buying online gift cards of an amount ranging between 100 US dollars to 1,000 US dollars and obtained their coupon codes and the PIN codes from them, said DCP Manoj C.
“The gift card was considered a security deposit till the alleged investigation into the fraudulent transaction and verification of the antecedents of the SSN card holder was over. The fraudsters used to pass on the coupon code and passwords to the blockers, who redeemed them and transferred the amount to the fraudsters through hawala channels or by transferring cryptocurrency into their accounts,” said the DCP.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Alok Kumar said the crime branch teams first raided the fake call centre running in a rented building in west Delhi’s Kirti Nagar around 8.30 pm on Tuesday, where 25 tele-callers were busy calling US citizens.
“We arrested 30 people, two team leaders – Amit Kumar and Chandrahas Patel – and the manager, Narendra Mishra. The owner of the call centre, Amit Tyagi was also among the arrested persons,” said Kumar.
Tyagi’s interrogation, the joint CP said, revealed that he ran a similar call centre in Mangolpuri as well. Another team conducted a raid and caught 67 people, including two juveniles, from the call centre named ‘TeleOne E-commerce Agency’.
“We asked Amit Tyagi to produce the licence and other documents for running the call centre but he could not produce any documents. A case of impersonation, cheating and criminal conspiracy was registered and further investigation is on,” added Kumar.