India

Mumbai Police bust nine bogus call centers

06 Oct 2016 | Written by Ramya ; Edited by Gaurav

Mumbai Police has detained and questioned 772 workers of nine bogus call centers on the city's outskirts.

The employees allegedly made millions of dollars by posing as United States Internal Revenue Service officials and tricked thousands of Americans for years into sending money for failing to pay taxes.

Mumbai Police spokesperson Sukhada Narkar said 70 employees were arrested for managing the bogus call centers.

In context: Call centers or scam centers?

A major call center hub

India was a major call center hub with foreign companies employing Indians for everything from reading out train timetables, answering bank client calls, to providing IT support. However, India is struggling to maintain its global outsourcing market share and lost its crown to the Philippines.

06 Oct 2016Mumbai Police bust nine bogus call centers

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Cheating by impersonation and extortion

Those who played major roles in the fraud were held on suspicion of cheating by impersonation and extortion. Mumbai Police said, "We have booked them under various sections of Indian Penal Code, and action will be taken against these bogus call centres and their employees."
Apple iTunes gift cards to transfer funds

Gift CardsApple iTunes gift cards to transfer funds

The Mumbai Police shared a call recording that has been recovered from one of the call centers' computers.

Police said the fraudsters, in some cases, asked people to buy Apple iTunes gift cards or similar gift cards of other retailers as a simple way to transfer funds.

The scam could be bigger as more Mumbai-based call centers could be engaged in similar activities.

Previous fraudsNot the first international fraud involving Indian firms

The current case is, however, not the first case in which Indian companies were accused of fraud.

Tata Consultancy Services was ordered to pay $940 million in damages by a US court for illicitly downloading materials from Wisconsin-based Epic Systems Corporation for developing competing software.

In 2015, Pennsylvania's Sahil Patel was awarded a 14-year-term for running a huge IRS scam using Indian call centers.

17 Oct 2016Mira Road Call Center scam mastermind's mentor arrested

The mentor of the key accused in the Mira Road fake call center scam, Jagdish Kanani has been arrested by authorities.

Kanani is a partner at a BPO in Hari Om Plaza, Mira Road; and has been taken in for questioning regarding his role in the scandal.

Authorities said Kanani played a crucial role in helping to set up the fake call center.

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28 Oct 2016US charges 61 people over call centre fraud

US authorities have charged 61 people and entities connected to the massive call-center fraud that was unearthed recently.

The US Justice Department made 20 arrests inside the US and also charged 32 people and 5 call centers in Ahmedabad connected to the fraud.

US Immigration authorities have also taken one individual into custody over the matter and said more arrests would follow.

02 Dec 2016Call-center scam: Kingpin's daily turnover over $100,000

Police sources confirmed that the daily turnover of call-center scam mastermind Sagar Thakkar was over $100,000 a day; Thakkar managed call-centers in Noida, Ghaziabad, Ahmedabad and Thane.

Police are also investigating the role of a senior police officer who had 30-40% partnership in several of the bogus businesses.

Thakkar is currently believed to have fled the country and hiding in Dubai.

09 Apr 2017Call centre scam: 24-yr-old mastermind arrested in multi-billion dollar racket

Thane police arrested Sagar Thakkar aka Shaggy, the 24-year-old mastermind of a massive call centre scam that conned hundreds of Americans of millions of dollars, after he was deported from Dubai.

Thakkar fled the country in October, right before the CBI raided their offices at Mira Road in Mumbai. He had set up similar operations in Gujarat too.

Over 200 people were arrested earlier.