Fake international call centre busted, 3 women among 19 arrested

Mumbai: The MIDC police busted a fraudulent international call centre on Tuesday night and arresting 19 people, including three women. The accused duped US nationals of over Rs8 crore in eight months on the pretext of giving them loans at an attractive rate of interest, irrespective of their credit scores, said Ankit Goyal, deputy commissioner of police (Zone 10).

Acting on a tip-off, an MIDC police team raided the office of Alreef Trading Pvt Ltd on the 4th floor of Safalya building at Marol, at 11pm and took everyone in custody.

Further probe revealed the accused used to call US nationals using the Virtual Private Network (VPN) service and offer loans to people with a low-credit score.

Police said the accused’s modus operandi was to call up US nationals, offer them loans. Once they fall for the con, ask them to send a soft copy of a cancelled cheque.

The accused then transferred a certain percentage of the amount in their bank account, claiming it to be a part of the enrollment process. The accused also asked for financial details of the customers, including personal login ID, netbanking details, ATM PIN number as well as void cheques details, said DCP Goyal.

After gaining access to all their finances, the accused would ask the customers to repay the amount in gift cards, after which they would be given the loan amount.

Once done, the accused would stop entertaining them. DCP Goyal said, “Moreover, the accused tampered with soft copy of the cancelled cheque and erased the word ‘Void’ and later forged it to withdraw money from customers’ accounts.”

Police have identified four main accused—Parvez Ayub Shaikh, who has been arrested, while the other three— Aarish Lokhandwala, Munaf Sheikh and Zakiur Rehman are at large.

Parvez played the role of a floor manager, and was primarily working with two other prime accused —Umer Samsingh and Ashraf Sheikh. The trio used gave other employees a target of $5000 per month.

The staff would make at least 1,600 phone calls daily and were mostly standard 12 passed. Police seized 20 laptops, 32 mobile phones and other materials.

The accused have been arrested and booked under relevant IPC sections for cheating, forgery and other sections of the Information Technology Act.

DCP Goyal said, the gang might be operating from different parts of the country. All the accused will be produced before the court on Thursday. More arrests are likely to be made.

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