Thane: At the nine call centres in Maharashtra's Thane accused of duping thousands of Americans, training included a detailed cheat-sheet to prepare executives for the questions they would likely face. Pretending to be taxmen, these workers raked in "hundreds of crores", estimate investigators.
"They would make threatening calls to honest taxpayers in the US, ask them to deposit money through pre-paid cards," Thane police chief Param Bir Singh told NDTV.
After raids on Tuesday based on a tip-off, 70 people were arrested and around 630 are being investigated.
A "full-fledged training programme" was run by the eight main accused.
The 23 dummy questions that the executives were given were designed to reduce each "customer" to a nervous wreck.
If the person said: "I have already paid the IRS (Internal Revenue Service)", the call centre executive was to reply: "What we are investigating is the miscalculation seen in your tax filled which makes us assume your intention was to defraud the IRS and the income tax law."
More reluctance would be met with this response: "I am here to guide so that you can go ahead and make the payment and resolve the matter outside the courthouse, so we can go ahead and cancel the arrest warrant."
If anyone wondered why they were not informed about the tax audit, the executives were trained to say: "...Let me tell you every five to six years there is a random audit conducted on your tax filing and it is not only for you but for every US citizen."
To handle such calls, the call centres advertised for recruits with "good communication skills" and at least school education. The ad said the hires were for "US collection and technical process". Among nearly 800 workers picked up in a police raid, many were barely out of school or in college.
Nearly 6,500 Americans were scammed into paying anywhere between 500 and 60,000 dollars each to be spared a criminal investigation.
On Tuesday night, as the workers started dialing America, some 200 policemen swooped in and caught them.