Call centre scam: 5 held for blackmail of Americans

Mumbai: The Navi Mumbai crime branch police arrested five people for extorting money from American citizens by threatening to prosecute them for their connection to drug trade.

This operation was done under the garb of a call centre at Sanpada, and scores of American citizens are suspected to have fallen prey to the con.

Rani Kale, assistant police inspector of Navi Mumbai crime branch, received a tip-off about a fake call centre operating at Sanpada. Acting on the information, a police team from the crime branch raided the call centre premises on Wednesday.

During the raids, it was revealed that the call centre was a front for a scam to dupe and cheat American citizens in a large scale. Police said that the main accused, Mansur Ali Qasim Shaikh (29), had established a call centre at Sanpada.

He had also employed over 20 people, who used to make internet calls to American citizens and tell them that their computer systems have been infected with a virus. The victims would then walk right into the trap and give them remote access to their computer systems.

The accused then accessed the American citizen's information from their computer and began blackmailing them, claiming that they found their ties with a drug trade.

They even demanded an extortion money in exchange to clear their name and keep away from police sources. Moreover, the accused threatened that it they fail to pay the money, they would alert the local police and put them behind bars.

The police learnt about the modus operandi and arrested Shaikh, who revealed the names of his accomplices -- Mohammad Sajid Mohammad Junaid Shaikh (29), Mohammad Jahir Saimohammad Shaikh (32), Mohammad Farhan Mohammad Tasdeeq Shiakh (28) and Murtuza Akhtar Motorwala (30) -- who were later arrested.

All the accused were booked and arrested under the relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act.

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