Nine call centres raided in Noida, 27 arrested for duping foreign nationals
The Gautam Budh Nagar police raided nine fake call centres being run in the district on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. After the raids, 27 persons were arrested for allegedly duping foreign nationals.
In a joint effort of the Noida police, the FBI, Interpol and the Royal Canadian Mounted police (RCMP), 25 raids have been conducted over the past six months and more than 130 persons have been arrested for being associated with fake call centres.
On October 17, officials from FBI, RCMP and the Interpol division of the FBI had met senior superintendent of police to discuss the rising number of complaints against call centres active in the district that dupe foreign citizens, especially Canadians and Americans, on the pretext of providing them loans, shares and other online products.
According to SSP Ajay Pal Sharma, after that meeting, the Noida police has been in constant touch with the foreign officials to thwart such operations.
“The raids on Wednesday and Thursdays are also the result of these joint operations. The accused would pretend to be authorised representatives of tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple and would dupe foreign nationals on the pretext of providing them with technical support,” Sharma said.
He said the complainant in all these cases was Microsoft. “The company was receiving more than 10,000 complains per month that people claiming to be from their tech support were duping users. This information was passed to the FBI and some of the call centres were traced to Delhi-NCR,” the SSP said.
Police said simultaneous raids based on these tip-offs are being conducted across Delhi-NCR, including Noida and Gurugram.
“So far more than 1,000 victims have been identified from 12 countries such as the USA, Canada and Australia. We are working to identify more cases. We believe the fraud may have run to more than Rs 10 crore but the exact amount will be ascertained after further investigation,” the SSP said.
Police said the accused purchased data of victims from online portals and also from Delhi-based vendors which police are trying to identify. “They would hack the systems of their victims and send across a pop-up (notification) saying that their system was either infected with a virus or malware. The notification would have a contact number and once the victim got in touch with the accused, they would claim to be from the technical support team and charge the customers for ‘cleaning’ up their systems,” the SSP said.
He also said the accused had fake certificates and documents with them showing that they were ‘business partners’ with tech giants like Microsoft.
Sharma said the accused charged $100-$2,000 and once they had access to the victim’s system, the accused would also misuse their financial information. “We have information about some of these accounts and have frozen them. We will go through the finances to understand the extent of the fraud,” Sharma said.
Police will apply for the police custody of the accused to gather more details.
The outfits had been operating for the past few months and while most of the arrested accused are tech and commerce graduates, some of them have previous experience of working in call centres, police said. They also said a couple of call centre owners are among the arrested accused.
“As this is a matter of international ramifications, we are also considering booking some of the accused under the National Security Act. We will also extract the data obtained from them and do a forensic analysis of it,” Sharma said.
Police have recovered 34 hard disks, 10 DVRs, 12 servers, computers, laptops, phones, cheque books, phones and Rs 1.5 lakh cash from the accused along with financial details of many foreign citizens.