Police raid 4 more call centres in Mira Road, find premises deserted & hard drives missing

Police raid 4 more call centres in Mira Road, find premises deserted & hard drives missing
Police leaving the call centre premises. Picture: Reuters

Following the raid on three call centres, in which thousands of US nationals were being scammed by callers posing as IRS agents, police conducted another raid on four more call centres in Mira Road and arrested one person.

The crime branch officials raided the four call centres on Saturday and arrested one person, but his identity was not revealed as it could potentially affect the probe in the case.

While police could not nab the owners and employees as the call centres were found deserted, around 250 computers were seized out of which 100 had no hard disks.

Meanwhile, a police team has gone to Gujarat in order to arrest the mastermind behind the racket.

The Scam

The call centre employees would call US citizens posing as officials from the Internal Revenue Service, the equivalent to the Income Tax Department in India.

They would ask unsuspecting tax defaulters about their financial details, and those reluctant to share their details were threatened with legal and federal consequences.

“The callers told them that they were calling from the IRS office. They told them he/she was a tax defaulter and that the money should be paid immediately. They threatened that action will be taken them by police and Tax department. The caller used to first demand around USD 10,000 and later settle for around USD five to three thousand and ask them to make the payment through pre-loaded cards,” Thane police chief said during a press briefing.

According to police, the salary of the callers ranged from Rs 10,000-40,000. But some managed to make over Rs 1 lakh with incentives.

The callers received an incentive based on the amount they were able to extract from the victim.

The employees were fully trained in US accent and were given SOP and call sheet, based on which they used to make calls to the ‘tax defaulters’. One or two out of every hundred US citizens called would end up making some payment.

The daily turnover of these call centres is believed to be Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.50 crore, and the annual turnover could be well above Rs 300 crore.

Police said during interrogation of the arrested persons they have got some vital information which would help them in probing the case further.

During the raids conducted last week at three call centres, 70 persons were arrested, and another 630 people booked under IPC sections 384 (extortion), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating) and under relevant sections of the IT Act and Indian Telegraph Act.

 

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