54 people arrested for running illegal call centre, duping foreign nationals

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New Delhi, Dec 16 (PTI) Fifty-four people were arrested for allegedly running a fake call centre in west Delhi's Moti Nagar area and duping foreign nationals to the tune of Rs 100 crore by posing as officers of law enforcement agencies, police said on Wednesday.

The accused used to tell foreign nationals that their details have come up in a case of crime and extort money from them in the form of Bitcoins and gift cards, they said.

The the call centre's operations were managed from Dubai, according to senior police officials.

The accused have duped more than 4,500 people to the tune of Rs 100 crore, police said.

Police got information that an illegal call centre is being operated from the Moti Nagar area and that those working there targeted foreign nationals, a senior officer said.

'Thereafter, a raid was conducted and 54 people, 45 men and nine women, were arrested. Eighty-nine desktop computers and a server set-up were found at the spot and these were seized,' Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Cyber Crime, Anyesh Roy, said.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed that they contacted foreign nationals, including US citizens, posing as officers of law enforcement and other government agencies such as the US Social Security Administration, the US Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Marshals Service, he said.

They used to tell them that their bank accounts and other assets are being freezed as their details have come up in a case of crime or illegal transactions have been made to drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia using their bank accounts, the DCP said.

They also threatened the victims with immediate arrest, according to police.

The accused used to give the victims two options, either take legal action or go for an alternate dispute resolution, which they said would be faster and easier, police said.

When the victim chose to go for dispute resolution, the accused asked them to share financial details such as bank account numbers and the amount of money in those accounts, they said.

Police said that the victims were told that the only way to safeguard their finances was to either buy Bitcoins or gift cards with their entire money in their bank accounts.

In the case of Bitcoins, these were transferred to wallets operated by the call centre. The victims were told that these were safe government wallets, the DCP said.

If the victim agreed to buy gift cards, they were told to share the number of the cards and that the cards would be linked to their new bank accounts, the officer said. PTI NIT NIT ANB ANB