Mumbai: The Shivaji Park police has arrested 11 persons including six women for allegedly running a fake call centre and duping people on the pretext of loan settlement. The accused posing as bank officials lured the bank customers into a trap and duped them by making them pay in the name of settlements.
In October last year, one Sunil Mhatre a businessman from Dadar was allegedly cheated by the group to the tune of Rs 40,000. According to the police, Mhatre had taken personnel loan of total Rs 7.5 lakh from two banks and he was regularly paying installments. In April last year, his business got hit due to pandemic and he applied for moratorium, the bank accepted his request, said police.
In November last year, he received calls from the accused who posed as bank officials claimed to settle his remaining loan of Rs 1.74 lakh and asked him to pay mere Rs 40,000 as a settlement amount. Believing them the businessman paid the entire amount for which the fraudsters gave him a settlement letter as well.
In December, the bank officials visited Mhatre to enquire about the pending dues, Mhatre showed him the settlement letter however when the bank officials checked his loan status nothing was deposited in his account neither any settlement latter was ever issued to him.
On his complaint, the Shivaji Park police registered an offence of online cheating and begun their investigation.
While going through the accused mobile number and their bank account details they realised that Ketan Mishra, 19, one of the accused is Ghatkopar resident. Immediately police picked him up, he led the cops to the call centre which was located in a complex in Ghatkopar west.
Police raided the call centre and arrested the remaining 10 accused including the mastermind Somnath Das, 20. According to the police, Das had previously worked for a call centre and has a complete knowledge of how such call centres operate and how to dupe people. He then started his own call centre and hired others including women who work as telephone operators.
"We have seized total 130 SIM cards along with six computers and four laptops. It seems that the accused possessed customer's data which includes their loan details and on the basis of this they used to target people. We are investigating how they acquired the data," said Pandhari Kande, Assistant police inspector.
Since March last year, the call centre was operational and police suspect that they have cheated many people similarly.