Ten persons, including a few women, were arrested for allegedly operating a fake call centre from Nalasopara in Maharashtra’s Palghar district and extorting money from US citizens by posing as officials, police said on Thursday.
Officials of the Mira Bhayandar and Vasai-Virar (MBVV) police commissionerate raided the fake call centre on Tuesday night, he said.
The callers would pose as US Social Security Department officials and tell the American citizens that they have committed serious offences and if they don’t pay money they would face action and land in jail, an official said.
“The accused used to steal the Social Security Numbers (SSN), mobile phone numbers and other confidential information of the US citizens. They used to make Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls to the victims from their bogus call centre,” MBVV police spokesperson Tukaram Tatkar said.
“They used to tell the US citizens that they may face action for the serious offences committed by them. The callers would also tell that they may face consequences like losing their jobs, cancellation of their driving licences, property attachment or blacklisting of their social security cards,” he said.
The callers would also tell the victims that chargesheets will be filed against them and they may end up in jails for their crimes. They used to threaten and extract money from the victims on the promise that no action would be initiated against them, he added.
“Based on a tip-off, a police team conducted a raid in Yashwant Gaurav Building on Tuesday night and busted the racket. Ten persons were arrested,” Mr Tatkar said.
The accused were identified as Prakash Banerjee (34), Jayesh Padaya (24), Chandan Amin (24), Bharat Bhati (30) Omkar Kale (20), Sainath Kapade (20), Komal Bagade (19), Muskan Hussain (19), Pranjal Shinde (28) and Chandresh Vishram (24), police said.
A case has been registered against them under IPC sections 420 (cheating), 419 (cheating by personation), 384 (extort), 379 (theft), 405 (criminal breach of trust), 120B (criminal conspiracy), sections of the Indian Telegraph Act and the IT Act at Nalasopara police station on Wednesday, he said.
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