One of the biggest scams in India’s history has been foiled by police in the western Indian city of Thane. More than 750 people were arrested or detained on suspicion of defrauding American citizens from a fake call centre.
As reported by the BBC, the suspects obtained lists of US tax defaulters and used threats to obtain their bank details. The scam reportedly netted more than $150,000 a day.
Thane police officials said they were contacting the FBI to ask for help.
The scammers, who pretended to be members of the US Internal Revenue Service, told victims they owed back taxes. In some cases, the victims were duped into buying gift vouchers from different companies and bullied into revealing voucher ID numbers, police said. The scammers then made purchases with the voucher numbers.
According to Paramvir Singh, the police commissioner of Thane, 851 hard disks, high-end servers, and other electronic equipment were seized in three overnight raids on October 5.
Thane police superintendent Mahesh Patil told BBC Hindi that the investigation could open up cases from other countries as well.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies announced in June it would set up a task force to detect and prevent fraud at outsourcing firms.
India has long been a home for call-centre businesses that are part of its larger outsourcing industry, which employs millions and includes some of the nation’s most prominent corporate names.