Austrian delegation thanks CBI for busting call centre fraud racket

Foreign nationals were duped by persons posing as law enforcement and Europol officers

October 20, 2022 10:52 pm | Updated 10:52 pm IST - NEW DELHI

On the sidelines of the Interpol General Assembly, the Austrian delegation has appreciated the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officials for prompt action against a call centre through which foreign nationals were being duped by the persons posing as law enforcement and Europol officers.

Owing to the investigation, there was a drastic reduction in the cases of frauds in Austria and its neighbouring countries, they told the agency.

Acting on the inputs received from some countries, the CBI had recently registered a case and searched a call centre in Delhi's Shadi Khampur village that had been targeting foreigners. Posing as law enforcement and Europol officers, they would tell the prospective victims that their identities had been stolen and used for committing crimes related to narcotics drugs in their names.

“In order to clear themselves of this suspicion, the victims were compelled to transfer their assets/money to a trust account through bank transfers, crypto wallets, gift card codes or voucher codes. Another call centre located in Noida was traced and raided. During the operation, about 25.83 Bitcoins and over ₹30.92 lakh stored in different wallets of the accused were frozen along with about ₹30.43 lakh lying in a bank account,” said a CBI official.

General Andreas Holzer, Director of the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office and member of the delegation, told The Hindu through e-mail that scams and fraud via phone was an increasingly problematic issue in Austria and Europe.

“We have hundreds of victims who lost millions of Euros...scammers are employing very sophisticated technical tools and tools of social engineering to accomplish their criminal goals. Scammers and other fraudsters usually work internationally, in the dark and behind the veils of online anonymity in order to deceive the authorities and hide their criminal behaviour,” he said.

‘Interpol, CBI important partners’

Describing the Interpol and the CBI as important partners in the fight against international criminal activity, Mr. Holzer said: “We are working relentlessly to gain more insights into that kind of international scamming – the most important weapon in our arsenal is international, trusting and professional networking of police authorities and the sharing of critical intelligence. Interpol plays a major part in these endeavours.”

The Indian delegation has also had bilateral meetings with its counterparts from several countries to discuss matters related to enhanced criminal intelligence sharing; geo-location of fugitives and criminals, combating terrorism, terror financing and online radicalisation, besides coordinated efforts to prevent cybercrimes and online child sexual exploitation.

Among them are the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Austria, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, Bhutan, Namibia, Bahrain, Russia, Canada, Oman, Serbia, Malaysia and Mongolia. A bilateral meeting was also held with Europol.

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