Authorities in India have arrested over 50 people in Delhi on what they allege was a call center scam. According to the authorities, the group has been accused of defrauding over 4,500 people in the US and other countries. Court filings show the suspects may have defrauded their marks for upwards of $14 million, a massive sum for such a small operation.
The team worked to convince their marks that they were law enforcement. In the scam, the callers alleged that the victim had been implicated in a drug cartel’s business and that their identification was being used to pay out laundered money. Then, the scam callers would tell the victims that they would need to pay up in order to avoid prosecution.
Anyesh Roy, Delhi’s deputy police commissioner, told reporters that the group was very savvy in defrauding their marks. “They would inform the targeted persons that their bank accounts and other assets are being frozen as their details have been found at a crime scene,” Roy said.
“Some of the targets were also told that there were bank accounts being used in their names through which illegal transactions have been made to drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia.” The fraudsters were bold enough to even threaten their victims, telling them they could face legal action or even arrest if they failed to pay up.
The scammers would have their victims pay them in the form of either Bitcoin or gift cards. That allowed the transactions to be irreversible, and the scammers could cash out the digital currency or gift cards in India. According to authorities, such scams are common because they are so hard to trace.
However, Indian police are fighting back against these scam call centers vigorously. According to official reports, they have broken up some 25 such centers in the past year. Contrary to popular belief, these scammers are operating illegally. India does not allow people within their borders to defraud anyone, whether they’re foreigners or not.
When pressed, scam call center workers have told investigators that they turn to a criminal job like scamming due to the job market in India. Some of those apprehended on scamming charges have alleged that engaging in the dishonest activity is their only shot at a job with decent pay. However, their intentions notwithstanding, what they’ve done is illegal, and authorities are taking steps to break up these scam rings.