A FEDERAL Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official Friday met the Thane police commissioner and discussed the bogus call centre scam being probed by the Thane police.
Since last week, at least 12 call centres in the Mira Road-Bhayander belt have been raided for allegedly cheating US citizens of money, with staffers pretending to be calling on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Thane police commissioner Param Bir Singh said, “An FBI official visited us today (Friday) in connection with the call centre scam. We discussed information we had from the arrested accused and he also provided certain inputs that will aid our investigation.”
“The official informed us that there are two Indians who are in the custody of FBI in connection with a similar crime. They are checking if the two Indians are in anyway linked to the accused arrested by us.”
The commissioner said the official — Suhel Daud, the deputy legal attaché at the US embassy — told him that the call centre scam victims were spread across the US and the action by the Thane police had created a dent in the network of the accused. Officials from the department of Homeland Security in the US, along with IRS officials are also expected to visit the Thane police. “We too would need the help of US officials to track down victims and find out the trail by which money had been transferred from the US to India,” Singh said.
The scam was exposed last week when Thane police raided 12 bogus call centres. Satffers would tell the US citizens to “settle” tax defaults, failing which they would be arrested. The callers would then “agree” to settle the matter and direct the victims to specific shops and malls, depending on their location, to purchase gift cards to make financial transactions.
The Thane police also found bogus call centres in Ahmedabad making similar fraudulent calls. The extent of the fraud was so wide that the IRS had to issue advisories asking US citizens to be cautious of fake IRS calls coming from India.