Thane cops bust ‘bizzare’ BPO in Ambernath offering loans to US citizens in lieu of commission, nude pics

Thane cops bust 'bizzare' BPO in Ambernath offering loans to US citizens in lieu of commission, nude pics
The callers would pose as bank officials and offer unsuspecting customers ‘easy loans’ in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 in exchange for commission (Representational Image. Courtesy: Reuters)

Thane Crime Branch on Friday busted a major fake call center scam in Ambernath and detained at least 25 of its employees for duping US citizens under the guise of offering ‘easy loans’.

According to an India Today report, crime branch officials, accompanied by a team of digital forensic experts, raided the call centre during the intervening night of June 8 and 9 on the basis of specific information.

The raid at ‘Rackon Enterprises’ started at around 11:30 pm on Thursday and went on till the wee hours on Friday. The company, located in Anand Nagar MIDC area of Ambernath, was earlier named ‘Shakti Ramesh Enterprises’.

Rackon Enterprises had been in business for four years.

At least two other locations, from where operations were being carried out, were also raided simultaneously and a total of 25 telecallers were detained.

The BPO’s modus operandi involved calling US citizens who were on the lookout for loans. They had obtained the list of potential leads, along with their personal details and debts, illegally from some associates in the US.

The callers would pose as officials from a local bank and offer unsuspecting customers ‘easy loans’ in the range of $1,000 to $5,000 in exchange for a 20 to 30 percent commission.

In certain cases, the callers would even ask their victims to send their nude or semi-nude pictures or videos. However, after receiving the commission or pictures, they would stop answering the customer’s calls.

The callers reportedly received an incentive for every successful conversion. The reward was typically ten percent of the total amount looted from the customer.

Following the raid, officials recovered a number of desktops, hard drives, USB drives and servers from the premises. The accused, meanwhile, were detained for interrogation and will now be booked under relevant sections of IPC and IT act.

Incidentally, the call centre’s premises is owned by an individual who has ties with a political party. However, police are still trying to ascertain if he was involved with their operations in any way.

So far, the full extent of the scam is not yet known as it will take some time for experts to go through the data logs and figure out the number of victims and total amount duped. The identity of the scam’s mastermind is also not known.

The scam came to light around 8 months after Thane police raided a dozen call centres in Mira Road-Bhayander, whose employees posed as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials and defrauded more than 6,000 Americans of millions of dollars.

It is believed that some employees who managed to escape the police net during the Mira-Bhayandar raids were working in the Ambernath call centre.

More details about the Ambernath call centre scam are awaited.

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