Mumbai Crime Watch:  4 held in fake call centre scam duping US nationals

Kandivali Police busted a fake call centre on Monday and arrested four people for making scam calls to United States of America nationals posing as Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials. The four arrested accused had started a fake international call centre a fortnight ago and after the raid, police have seized the gadgets and equipments found in the premises for further probe. The accused have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team from Kandivali raided a call centre in Borivali for unlawful practices, wherein they arrested the main accused Umesh Parekh, along with Aadil Adwani, Jinal Patel and Irfan Hasim Shaikh.

Explaining the modus operandi, a police official said that the quadruple used to send bulk messages to US nationals, targeting mostly from the states of California and New Jersey. In those messages, the accused posted that their vehicle was used in some crime and that they will have to either pay a fine or get arrested. The US citizens were then asked to contact a number to get more clarity on the issue.

Fearing arrests or being associated with a crime, a number of victims fell prey to the con and contacted the number mentioned. Upon calling, the accused, who have earlier worked with e-commerce giants, informed the victims that they will be arrested as their vehicle was found with blood stains or drugs were found in them.

The accused used the modus operandi of gift cards encashment. The accused are suspected of cheating thousands of people in just 15 days. "In order to get the charges cleared, the accused asked them to pay a fine or face arrest as they claimed to have details of the victim's social security number. The US nationals were asked to pay through gift cards of certain amounts, information of which would be passed to the operatives in the US, who would, in turn, encash the gift cards there," said an official.

Police are now trying to trace the operatives of the accused in the US and ascertain how many more people are involved. The exact amount and the number of victims that fell prey to the con are also yet to be ascertained, said police. All the accused were produced before a local magistrate court and remanded in police custody till Wednesday.

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