Calls, seeking bank account details, have been received from numbers registered in the capital region

The escalating number of complaints of ‘vishing’ fraud registered with the city police has raised the strong suspicion that illegal call centres targeting Chennaiites are operating in Gurgaon and other parts of Delhi.

The criminal practice of obtaining confidential information, mainly financial data, via phone has been rampant in the last six months. The fraudsters have contacted many residents, mainly senior citizens, claiming to be calling from the banks with which they hold accounts. They have siphoned off lakhs of rupees by managing to obtain the PINs of credit/debit cards of customers after luring them with card upgradation or account security evaluation procedures.

“The vishing calls often come from landline numbers registered in Delhi, with the fraudsters speaking fluently in Tamil. Similarly, we have received inputs that fraudsters have targeted bank customers in neighbouring States by speaking that State’s language. We strongly suspect that illegal call centres are operating in Gurgaon and adjoining areas, hiring employees with specific language skills,” said an investigating officer.

A city-based banking risk expert believes that the employees of the call centres might be made to believe that they are working for a well-known private or nationalised bank. “It could be similar to the famous Microsoft Windows scam in which employees of illegal call centres, unaware of the setup, make calls to U.S., U.K. and other countries, claiming to offer technical support,” the risk expert said.

The Windows tech support scam, regarding which Microsoft themselves have issued a warning, is said to be orchestrated from India, with call centre staff requesting remote access to computers overseas. The fraudster demands a fee (often $ 299) that the victims often deposit in a given account, thus falling prey to a world-famous scam.

City police investigating the surge in vishing cases are hoping to pin down the fraudsters operating from remote locations. Meanwhile, citizens have been advised to remain vigilant and not divulge confidential bank account details to strangers contacting them via phone or any other means.

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