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Noida: 8 held for swindling money from US citizens by threatening to link them with Mexican, Colombian drug cartels

Through internet calling, the accused would threaten people by associating them with drug operations and would make them pay through Google gift cards. The accused used to earn nearly 2.5-3 lakh daily.

Noida, Noida news, Noida fraud, Noida call centre scam, US nationals duped, Noida financial fraud, Indian ExpressThe accused was operating the call centre Sea Link Media and Entertainment in Kaanchpada, the police said. (Representational Image)

Noida police have arrested eight men for allegedly defrauding US citizens via internet calling. The accused threatened to link the victims’ names with drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia, and made them pay money in the form of gift cards.

The accused have been identified as Sumit Tyagi, Arun Chauhan, Vishal Tomar, Rahat Ali, Keshav Tyagi, Sunil Varma, Prashant Lakehra, and Satendra Lakhera.

“Noida Police has busted a gang that systematically targeted US citizens. They had set up a call centre and had data of specific people. Through internet calling, they would threaten people by associating them with drug operations and make them pay through Google gift cards. The accused used to earn nearly 2.5-3 lakh daily. We are ascertaining the scale of the operations,” said Ranvijay Singh, ADCP Gautam Buddh Nagar.

According to the police, most of the citizens targeted were of Indian origin. The accused also had data of people who had been involved in some form of drug dealing earlier, the police said. Each person had a different American name and would introduce themselves as callers from Clara Santa, California.

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The accused told the victims that they had bank account details that showed transactions with drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia, and that the matter would be solved if they paid a certain amount. The scared victims would pay in the form of Google gift cards which would be converted to Indian rupees on an online portal called Pixfulonline, said the police.

The accused have been active for more than a year and ran the centre in Sector 62, police said. The main accused of the operations hails from Madhya Pradesh and is currently absconding. The police are investigating with the help of the telecom department (DoT) for technical guidance.

The police said they have recovered 10 computer systems, routers, laptops, headphones, and several documents with details regarding the accused’s customer database and operations.

First published on: 18-11-2021 at 11:43 IST
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