Express press service
BENGALURU: Two branches of a bogus international call center based in Bengaluru and located in Whitefield and Mahadevapura areas were raided by Whitefield Division police accused of deceiving US citizens into obtaining their contact details banks to siphon off their money. Police arrested 11 people who are all from Ahmedabad in Gujarat and recovered 238 desktop computers worth around Rs 2 crore. About 61 employees, including 30 women, were detained. The search began at 10 p.m. Thursday and continued through Friday morning.
The branch of the fake company Ethical Info Co Pvt Ltd on the first floor of Gayathri Tech Park in Whitefield and another branch at Silver Towers in Mahadevapura were raided. The company ran an organized fake cyber call center. The seized items worth Rs 2 crore include 127 desktop computers, four laptops, 150 headphones, 10 internal hard drives, three premium cars, two school vans, a tempo traveler and Rs 18 lakh in cash. The defendants used school vans to transport the employees fearing that the fraudulent company could be taken if other transport vehicles were used. The employees worked at night in order to target American nationals.
The 11 defendants acted at the request of the kingpin who is an American national from California. They allegedly embezzled millions of rupees from gullible victims. Police are now considering whether to transfer the case to central investigation agencies, as the main accused is a foreign national. The kingpin, after collecting data on US citizens, shared it with his associates in Bengaluru. The team of 11 defendants in Bangalore then called the employees to American nationals.
Employees received ready-to-use scripts developed by the US national. The employees were divided into three levels. The first level collected the basic information of the victims, the middle level got the account details and other sensitive information and the third level also known as the closure team trapped the victims. Employee salaries were paid in cash. The kingpin who is on the run was making payments to his subordinates through hawala.
“The modus-operandi involved messaging potential targets through text and voicemail that a fraudulent/suspicious transaction or purchase is noticed on one of their accounts, such as an account bank or Amazon account, and call on behalf of Amazon or the bank to resolve the fraudulent transaction. They would focus on gullible victims who trusted callers, then chase them until they part with their social security numbers, bank details, and siphon off money through various means, including apps. untraceable money transfer options such as Amazon gift cards, cryptocurrency, and even wire. transfers,” said S Girish, Deputy Commissioner of Police for Whitefield Division.
Those arrested are Pratik, Rishi Vyas, Syed, Parikh Biren, Karan, Jitiya Kishan, Hett Patel, Bihang, Raj Ialih Soni, Vishal Parmar and Mitesh Gupta. They employed new graduates from various parts of the country including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. The callers were primarily targeting US nationals.
Fate of employees
“The 61 employees will be named witnesses in the case and no charges will be filed against them. Most of them were unaware of the racketeering and felt like they were working for US clients,” the DCP added.