Updated: September 1, 2021 10:58:33 am
The Vanrai police in Goregaon (East) recently busted a call-centre run by alleged fraudsters who impersonated officials from the “Federal Reserve System (FRS)” services and tricked US nationals into transferring money out of their bank accounts through gift cards. While two accused have been arrested, at least three more are wanted in the case.
The gang was operating for around two months, the police said, adding that they have seized Rs 26 lakh cash, which is believed to be the total proceeds of crime. “The seized money was their commission received from other gang members through hawala transactions. The hawala operators handed over the cash to local angadias who delivered it to the accused,” the police said.
Members of the gang would impersonate FRS officials and tell them that their Social Security Number is under the scanner and they are being surveilled. They would otherwise tell them that their Amazon account has been blocked and ask them to follow instructions to unblock it. The fraudsters were provided data on US citizens from other unknown criminals. The fraudster sent messages to as many as 10,000 US Americans and provided them with a number where they could call back for redressal of their grievance. Those who called back were made to buy gift cards and asked to share the code numbers in the cards. These codes were then used to withdraw money. The accused also made use of an automated software built with audio instructions to the victims.
The call centre was being run by 10 to 12 people from a small shop in Vitbhatti area in Goregaon (east). Acting on a tip off, the Vanrai police conducted a raid on August 28 and arrested two of the accused. A FIR was registered against them for cheating and impersonation under sections 419, 420 of IPC, 66C and 66D of the IT Act and 25 of the Indian Telegraph Act. “The accused were produced before a magistate court and remanded to police custody till September 5,” said Mahesh Nivatkar, police inspector from Vanrai police station.
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