IRS Scam: Focus on 7-storey building with 6 call centres, most accused worked there

IRS Scam: Six teams of 20 Crime Branch sleuths raided each of the floors and interrupted the employees’ dinner that evening.

Written by Rohit Alok | Mumbai | Updated: October 10, 2016 2:23 am
call center, mumbai call center, call center scam, thane call center scam, india news, indian express IRS Scam: One of the locations raided last week. (Source: Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

OF the three Mira Road locations that were raided by the Thane police on the evening of October 5, a newly constructed seven-storey building off the Western Express Highway was the most important, officers claimed. More than 500 of the 700 accused were employed there. They were spanned across six call centres located between the second and the seventh floor. The first floor is for parking and there were no other occupants in the building.

Six teams of 20 Crime Branch sleuths raided each of the floors and interrupted the employees’ dinner that evening. The food boxes delivered from nearby Hotel Fountain on Ghodbundar Road were still on the employees’ desk, most half eaten, when The Indian Express visited the premises last week.

The offices that were inaugurated less than two months ago still have the fresh smell of paint, with colours blue, orange, purple on the walls and pillars.

What differentiated the fourth floor office from the others was that it had a biometric device that would digitally record the attendance of the employees. At the time of the raid, 70 employees were marked present on the fourth floor.

All the offices look nearly identical, each floor having cubical workstations with an average of 110 computers and most of the chairs still don’t have the plastic covers taken off them.

Each floor is about 4,500 square feet in size with the layout comprising three cabins at the perimeters — one for the floor manager who coordinates the call flow on his floor, the second a storage room and a third with a large white board for the purpose of training the employees.

At each workstation, none specifically reserved for an employee, a six-page script was found pinned to the desk. When the dialers would receive a call from the American ‘debtor’, they would note on their desktop the name of the victim and the corresponding IRS official that they were impersonating, along with the badge number.

When dialers would succeed in reeling a victim into the con, they would raise their hand so that their supervisor — called ‘closer’ — could negotiate the fine and end the conversation.

Two bouncers and at least 15 CCTV cameras would be watching the employees.

These call centres had two internet services providers supplying the connection and two routers that relayed the signal.

Police believe that an essential component to each of the floors was the coffee machine that helped the employees stay up through their 7 pm to 5 am shifts.

The Thane police are also probing under what conditions were the occupancy and no-objection certificates issued.