New Delhi police uncovered an extensive scam operation that preyed upon over 4,500 innocent Americans who forked out over 14 million dollars during two years to the 50 plus people involved in the Scam.
The Scam operated from a call-centre in West Delhi, which has been described by authorities as one of the largest operations in recent months. Whereby the scammers would contact people and inform them that their assets and bank accounts were being frozen due to being suspected of involvement with drug cartels in Mexico and Columbia. The victims were told that U.S. Law Enforcement agencies had found their bank details at crime scenes and they were being investigated.
The ‘investigators‘ on the phone would tell the unsuspecting victim that they had an ‘alternative dispute resolution‘ option that would help them avoid any prison time or criminal charges. To avoid the criminal charges, they were informed that they could change all of their finances into Bitcoin or Google gift cards which would then be held for safekeeping by a secure government account. Of course, as New Delhi police officer Anesh Roy said, the money was, in fact, going to the scammers.
The operation was so elaborate that the scammers learned to imitate American accents and spoke from a script. Those who were the best at getting people to fall for the Scam were rewarded with more money.
India is known for being a popular choice for outsourcing call-centres. Over 1.2 million people in India are employed in its ever-expanding outsourcing industry, which accounts for $28 billion annually. Because of India’s popularity for call-centres, this has unfortunately led to an increase in scammers using this to their advantage. The increase in online scams here has led to the Indian police creating designated units to tackle the problem.
Sadly, with India going into further economic decline following the coronavirus pandemic, it is likely that these types of crimes will continue. Many people are unemployed and unable to find work, so they may feel getting involved in these types of organisations is their only option.
This isn’t the only large-scale operation in India uncovered this year. In August, in a Delhi suburb called Gurgaon, over 24 people were arrested for a scam involving 30,000 Americans. The Scam would install malware onto the unsuspecting victims’ computer via links on pornographic websites. Once the link was clicked, it would bug the user’s computer, enabling the scammers to contact the user and offer to fix the problem for up to $700.
It is not just Delhi that is experiencing these kinds of criminal organisations. A raid was also made in Mumbai where the call-centre workers pretended to be calling from the Internal Revenue Service. They would then claim that the recipient owed money in taxes and convince them to send over the payment to avoid repercussions.
In light of these revelations, it is now more important than ever to be vigilant when receiving any calls where the person demands money over the phone.