THE MUMBAI Police Crime Branch on Thursday night busted a fake call centre in Andheri (East) from where fraudsters allegedly called up US nationals and cheated them under the pretext of selling them viagra. Nine persons were arrested, including the manager, Elvis Nunes. The police claimed to have also found contacts of several US nationals, who were the likely targets.
On the rise, hi-tech cheating cases
Ever since a call centre was busted in the Mira Road Bhayander belt in November 2016, over 20 fake call centres have been busted in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. In most cases, those involved are former call centre employees. The alleged fraudsters target US nationals and made calls using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). Several outlets on the darkweb sell confidential data of US citizens for a price. Fraudsters purchase these data sets and cheat victims by either promising goods at cheap rates or threaten them by posing as law enforcement officers. Investigators say in most cases, tip-offs have led to raids on fake call centres that would otherwise be difficult to detect.
An officer said that based on a tip-off, Unit 10 of the Crime Branch raided the second floor of Nandham Industrial Estate from where the alleged fraudulent call centre was operating. The police arrested Nunes along with eight others, who were found at the call centre. The accused would make VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) calls to US nationals, claiming to be from ‘American US pharmacy’.
“The accused would then offer to sell some banned viagra tablets to US nationals at cheap rates. They would take the payment online and pretend to place the order. After withdrawing the money, the accused would stop communicating with the US nationals,” an officer linked to the case said. The police have registered a case of cheating, common intention and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
“We are interrogating the accused to find out if anyone else is involved. Several of those arrested earlier worked at genuine call centres before they were hired here,” said an officer.