Fake call center duping US citizens busted in Mumbai, 14 arrested

Mumbai: The Mumbai police crime branch busted a major fake call center racket and arrested 14 people, including a computer engineer, from two different offices in Malad on November 2 night. The scam was similar to the Rs 1,900-crore racket busted in Mira Road last year, in which the callers posed as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials and conned US citizens.
Interestingly, the owners of the Malad call center had worked in the Mira Road one.
The preliminary probe into the racket has found that the callers posed as officials of the US treasury department and duped around 300 people. The racket is estimated to run into crores, but the police have not yet revealed the exact scale as they are still questioning the accused.
Acting on a tip-off, the crime branch raided the two locations in Malad – B2B Centre and Aditya Industrial Estate – where the accused the rented the premises. Police said the racket had been operational for the past four to five months.
The employees would send messages to US citizens, posing as treasury department officials, and ask them to pay “tax dues”.
“They would send at least 1,000 messages in a day and even if 50 people called back, the staff would dupe them,” a senior crime branch officer said. “The content of the message kept changing. Once the victim called, the staff would speak to them in an American accent and use every trick in the book to dupe them.”
The arrested accused, most of who are in their twenties, have been identified as Amey Lokare, 28, a computer engineer who allegedly arranged the data of US citizens; Musir Shaikh, 27; Talib Ansari, 29; Ajim Shaikh, 24; Adil Sayyad, 24; Ronald Rodrigues, 30; Farhan Shaikh, 28; Prashant Kamble, 21; Sohel Shaikh, 24; Zarar Haidar, 24; Sadad Sayyad, 21; Sabad Shaikh, 22; Hemant Gaikwad, 23; and Abhishekh Dubey, 29.
All the accused are residents of Mumbai and have worked in various call centers in the city for several years. They were produced in a city court on November 3 and remanded in police custody till November 9.

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