Ahmedabad: Police today raided a call centre here and arrested 19 people, including six women, for allegedly posing as officials of US' Internal Revenue Service and extorting money from American nationals by threatening them of legal action over 'tax evasion'.
Similar raids were conducted last month in Thane, Maharashtra by local police on at least seven call centres in connection with the multi-crore scam wherein US citizens were duped adopting similar modus operandi.
Based on a specific tip off that one Hitendra Davda (29) and Sandip Rajwani (21) are running an illegal call centre at a rented office in Bodakdev area, a crime branch team raided the premises and arrested both the masterminds and 17 employees, including 6 women, who have been hired as "call agents" by the duo.
During the raid, police recovered 34 CPUs, 21 mobile phones, 3 laptops, 2 Internet routers and scripts for call agents, stated a release issued by the crime branch.
Investigations have revealed that Davda and Rajwani started the call centre in Maurya Atria building in Bodakdev around one year back.
The duo used to earn Rs 7 lakh (USD 11,000) per month by compelling US nationals to pay after threatening them of arrest and cancellation of driving license and social security number, stated the release.
The action was taken in the wake of similar raids carried out by Thane police on call centres.
Following those raids in Thane, city police commissioner has ordered the crime branch to identify and raid such call centre running in the city, stated the release.
The officials have learnt that the callers used to make calls using sophisticated calling applications such as Magic Jack and X-lite to dupe US citizens.
Explaining the modus operandi of Davda and Rajwani, the release stated the duo acquired a database of the US-based 'defaulters' who can be targeted.
The callers used to threaten these citizens to pay them a specified amount online to save themselves from facing stern legal actions, including imprisonment for three months, stated the release.
Blowing the lid off the Thane call centre scam, police had raided seven call centres in Mira Road area last month and arrested about 70 directors and key persons of these call centres.
The mastermind behind running Thane call centres, identified as Sagar alias Shaggy Thakkar, is absconding.