A multi-crore call center racket was busted throughout India especially the western part of the country. The racket used fake Indian call centers to trap US citizens. The fake calls threatened the US citizens by saying to pay fictional tax otherwise face prison.
Police warned this type of scams were operated throughout the country. School and college dropouts were trained to speak in American accent. According to detectives, they acted like they were US Internal Revenue Service officials and they panicked the US citizens into believing they were bound to pay the government cash.
The investigating officers also said that this fake scheme was operating for over a year and earned more than 10 million rupees a day.
This month police raided the call centers of western India, from Mumbai to the Ahmedabad and arrested more than 70 people. But they said the network could be stretched widely.
Commissioner of police in the Mumbai suburb of Thane, Parambir Singh said, “We believe that the racket is spread across India, including in the north.”
An internet based automatic call was made simultaneously to call and threat the US citizens. The victims had no option but to listen it. The victims got frightened and called back.
A police officer said to PTI, “Some of the victims got frightened with this and called back. When the call was returned, the call centre executives, through the phone number of the caller, surfed through the websites (having information about people’s name, addresses and other details) in real time to understand the paying ability of the person at the other end.”
The officer added that those persons who had higher ability to pay were in priority list.The agents of call center engaged with them to discuss the amount which the victim had to pay.
The ‘dialler’ asked the potential victim if he wanted to solve the issue, if the victim’s answer was yes then the call was transferred to the senior, the ‘closer’.
The ‘closer’ then talked with the victim and told him to keep his mobile on speaker mode and go at the nearest supermarket chain. The con men asked the victims to send money often through pre-paid debit cards that can be bought from the stores like Walmart and sometimes by buying Apple I-Tunes gift cards.
According to the official, “During investigation it was revealed that the scam’s alleged mastermind, Sagar Thakkar alias Shaggy, and his associates used to blast the VOIP calls from Ahmedabad.”
He added that they called the US citizens by using Direct Inward Dialling (DID). In this process 10 US citizens could get calls at a time.
The contact numbers shown in the mobiles were similar to US numbers, so the citizens blindly believed the call was from the US Tax Department.
According to sources, few police officers including an inspector posted in Ahmedabad were also suspected.
Thane police deputy commissioner, Parag Manere asserted, “Hiring was easy. They just gave out pamphlets about job openings and received applications, mostly from school or college dropouts.”
A team of Thane police came to Ahmedabad to search Sagar Thakkar. Thane police arrested Jagdish Kanani, one of the accused on Thursday from Thane.
It is suspected that the recruiters were paid Rs. 30,000 to 70,000 per month with commission. The agents sometimes left threatening voice-mails if the targeted person didn’t reply their phone calls.
Ahmedabad police raided more than half a dozen call centers. A senior crime branch officer said that they also continue their search in Surat, Bhuj and Vaodara.
But police couldn’t find the mastermind Thakkar who is from Ahmedabad. Police was suspicious that he may fled from India to Dubai.