THE Thane police’s probe into the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scam led them to four more call centres at different locations of Mira Road Saturday. The police searched the new locations but found them deserted. Officers said those running the four call centres seemed to have fled with most of the hard disks and servers.
Operators at eight Mira Road call centres were earlier found to have duped many people in America pretending to be officials from the IRS and extracting money by threatening them with a “tax investigation”.
“During the course of our inquiry, the arrested accused revealed that similar call centres were operating out of four other locations off the Mira-Bhayandar road,” said an investigator.
According to the police, scripts similar to those found at the raided call centres have been recovered from the new locations. The new scripts suggest that the ‘dialers’ at these locations were even impersonating officials from the US Department of the Treasury.
“Even before we reached here on Saturday, these call centres were deserted. Most of the computers were without CPUs and their hard disks. At some places, even the servers were taken away. We believe the employees fled with these materials after our raids on October 5,” a senior police officer said.
The police said the new call centres were smaller in capacity with a staff strength of 14 to 45. Most of these had been operational for less than two months, they said.
The police seized balancesheets of one of the four call centres during the search.
“According to the seized material, one such sheet for the month of July had the names of 19 employees and the amounts they had correspondingly ‘earned’. Together, they all had earned more than 85,000 USD (Rs 56 lakh). The same call centre made about 60,000 USD (Rs 39.6 lakh) in August,” said an investigator.
At another call centre, which was leased out in August as a “complete travel solutions” company, three of the 14 computers were missing their CPUs. Each of the workstations had a sheet of all the states in the US listed out along with their respective abbreviations.
“We have inquired with the owners of these new call centres who have shared the contact details of the person they leased their establishments to. The latter are untraceable with their phones switched off,” said a police officer.