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Illegal call centre set up to dupe US citizens busted in Sector 23

An illegal call centre operating in Sector 23 was busted in the early hours of Sunday and three persons were arrested for allegedly duping US citizens over the last six months, the police said
By Leena Dhankhar, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON JUN 06, 2021 11:08 PM IST

An illegal call centre operating in Sector 23 was busted in the early hours of Sunday and three persons were arrested for allegedly duping US citizens over the last six months, the police said.

The suspects were identified as Zarar Haider of Mumbai in Maharashtra, Pratesh Patel of Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh and Nishgar of Ahmedabad in Gujarat. The police said they made at least 50 lakh, as they were paying workers 15,000 to 25,000 per month.

Karan Goel, the assistant commissioner of police, said that Haider was the team leader, while Patel used to handle technical operations and Nishgar used to handle voice and accent training along with process training. “Three of them were masterminds. They had taken up a house on rent in Sector 23 and were paying 45,000 a month. The call centre was operational for the last six months. These suspects were duping US nationals and taking money through gift cards and Pay Pal,” he said.

A case was registered on Sunday at Cyber police station under sections 420 (cheating) and 120B (conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 66D and 75 of the IT Act. They will be produced before the district and sessions court on Monday.

The callers posed as officials of law enforcement agencies and coerced their victims into paying fines, the police said. The suspects used to threaten US citizens that their social security numbers (SSN) would be blocked or that they would be booked for consuming drugs or taking loans on the basis of forged documents, the police said.

Data of US citizens, two laptops, one hard disk and two mobile phones were recovered from the premises. The police said that at least 2,000 people based in the US were targeted.

Goel said that they conducted a reconnaissance of the area on Sunday. “There were more than six men and three women making calls in the room. They all were graduates who had work experience at other call centres. There were around 15 workstations and training was given to the employees before hitting the floor. They also set up a toll-free number, to which they received calls from their targets,” he said.

The police said the suspects developed several fake websites, which would direct the victims to call the toll-free number for assistance.

The police said the confiscated hardware will be sent to a laboratory in Madhuban of Karnal for forensic examination to ascertain the total number of frauds committed.

“Payment was generally done through virtual gateways, credit and debit cards, gift cards and iTunes cards,” said Goel, adding that the call centre used to earn nearly 2 lakh a day, but due to lockdown, the operations were closed for two months in the interim.

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