Former call centre workers arrested for cheating Britons

They used their call centre skills to impersonate as employees of UK banks to cheat Britons by luring them into obtaining unsecured loan and fleecing them of the processing fee.

Updated: Jan 21, 2013, 20:54 PM IST

New Delhi: They used their call centre skills to impersonate as employees of UK banks to cheat Britons by luring them into obtaining unsecured loan and fleecing them of the processing fee.
But their luck ran out after Crime branch arrested five members of a gang which was running an illegal call centre from a rented house in Shakti Vihar in Pitampura following a complaint from British High Commission.

The Commission in his complaint said that UK`s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has received information that illegal call centres were calling Britons by impersonating as employees of British banks and financial institutions.

Police arrested 26-year-old kingpin of the gang Anshuman Srivastava, hailing from Rajaji Puram of Lucknow, 21-year-old Pawan Singh of Uttam Nagar, 20-year-old Sumit Kumar and Ashu, 23, both residents of Jahangirpuri, and 27-year-old Amit Singh of Rohini`s Budh Vihar locality after a tip off on Friday last.

During interrogation, they said all of them had worked in call centres in Delhi and Gurgaon.

"They lost their job due to recession in call centre business few years ago, like many other young persons. However, by the time they left, they had learned the tricks of the trade and realised that overseas customers make payments for required services without creating unnecessary hassles," a police official said.

"The gang was operating in the name of `Wisdom Calling` from the house taken on rent by Srivastava. Police recovered a laptop, four desktop computers and documents along with record of UKASH vouchers from the gang members," said S B S Tyagi, DCP Crime and Railways.

They had managed to make around Rs 90 lakh through the fraud in last one year.
Giving details of their modus operandi, Tyagi said, the accused used to lure victims into getting unsecured loans as well as claim of payment protection insurance (PPI).

After victims agreed to their offer, they directed them to transfer 10 per cent of the amount as processing fee for sanctioning the loan or claim of PPI.

"The victims were asked to transfer the money through vouchers or provided bank account number. Once the money was deposited, the same was encashed by the accused. The victims, thereafter, were denied the loan on one pretext or the other and in some cases their calls were ignored," Tyagi said.

During the raid, four persons were found working on four computer systems and on checking, data of UK residents like name, address, email-ids were found stored in the systems and they were calling them.

The data contained name, addresses, contact numbers, loan amount, loan year and bank or financial institution details. It also had details of Britons who had taken loan and paid off the same successfully.

Tyagi said "the gang used to make calls to those UK nationals using `Eyebeam Audio Only` software on `Action-VOIP` (Voice Over Internet Protocol)."

"They took advantage of their knowledge of call centre services for the purpose of cheating as they were fully aware about the system of loans, mortgages, insurance in the UK, the USA. Srivastava was the owner of the call centre along with one of his partners. They used to get reliable data from some UK nationals in lieu of Rs 70 to Rs 150 per data, arranged by Srivastava`s partner," Tyagi said.

They employed persons with experience in call centres as telecallers with good spoken English.

"The gang was in the business of illegal call centre since January 2011 and so far they have done business of about Rs 90 lakh in a year," Tyagi said, adding Rs 35 lakh from this amount was cheated by one of Srivastava`s contacts in Qatar and he also lost heavily in cricket betting.