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3 call centres in Thane raided for cheating US loan defaulters

mumbai Updated: Oct 06, 2016 10:41 IST
Ram Parmar
Ram Parmar
Hindustan Times
scam,call centre scam,Thane

One of the three call centres raided in Mira Road.(HT Photo)

Three call centres in Mira Road were raided late on Tuesday and more than 750 employees are being questioned for alleged online fraud, after a probe by the Thane crime branch and Thane rural police showed the centres were a front for cheating loan defaulters in the United States.

Police sources privy to the investigation said the call centre’s employees would pose as US revenue department officials. Their target was loan defaulters, who are obliged to cooperate with revenue officials. The defaulters would be asked for their bank details, which the callers used to hack into accounts to cheat them of money.

Superintendent of Police (SP),Dr Mahesh Patil, while confirming the raids, said the call centres were under the radar after similar ones were recently raided in Ahmedabad. The probe, according to the police, found the Ahmedabad centres to be the origin of the scam. The scamsters used a special software to mask the number they were calling from. The software ensured the receiver saw a US number on their phones, Patil said. The employees were trained to speak in American accents,the police said.

The police are also probing the role of agents based in the US, who earned a 30% commission for every trap, while the Mira Road agent got a 70% commission. Investigations showed a victim was targeted by two callers and every caller had a daily target to achieve. The job was advertised through stickers in local trains that offered an attractive pay to lure unemployed youth.

While the police are questioning the employees of the three centres, a probe is on to find what they suspect is a gang — suspected to be based in Ahmedabad — behind the entire operation.

“We will register cases for cheating under the Indian Penal Code and also apply the Information Technology Act,2000,” said Patil.

First Published: Oct 05, 2016 10:27 IST