The police in Guwahati have busted eight fake call centres that have been scamming people online across the country, and abroad.
A 200-member team spread out to eight locations in Assam’s principal city around midnight on Thursday and detained 144 persons, including 47 women, who were operating these illegal call centres.
“We arrested three masterminds, two of them on the highway while trying to flee,” Guwahati’s Commissioner of Police, Diganta Barah told journalists on Friday.
The three, all about 30-years-old, were identified as Debajyoti Dey alias David from Karimganj, Rajen Sidana from Ludhiana, and Divyam Arora from Delhi. A fourth wanted person, son of an administrative officer, is absconding.
“The scammers posed as tech. support staff, using pop-up advertisements and toll-free numbers to deceive victims into believing they were contacting legitimate service centres. Once the scammers gain remote access to victims’ devices, they hack their personal information or bank accounts and coerce them into making payments via bitcoin or gift vouchers,” Mr Barah said.
These fake call centres were found to have connections with gang members in Delhi, Gurgaon, and other locations. The scammers would collect their commissions in Indian rupees and transfer the remaining money to gang leaders through hawala, the police said.
The victims included many from the United States, who made payments in dollars.
The employees of these call centres, hired through social media platforms, received incentives based on the number of successful scams they executed. Some of the employees were IT experts, police said.