A fake call centre was busted in Noida and 18 men were arrested for allegedly duping several people on the pretext of getting them jobs, police said today.
The action comes close on the heels of the busting of at least three similar bogus call centres in a fortnight -- two of them duping US, Canadian citizens and other foreigners with "tax benefit" schemes while the third offered people "cheap holiday packages" across India.
A joint team of the Noida Cyber Cell and the Sector 20 police station yesterday raided the fake call centre operating from the third floor of a private building in Sector 6 of the city.
"As many as 18 men working there were arrested. All of them worked as callers. Eight of them belonged to Bihar, seven from Uttar Pradesh, two from Delhi while one from Odisha. Five others, including the owner, the manager and three assistants, are absconding," senior police inspector Ashok Kumar Singh told reporters.
The owner, identified as Chandan Jha, had established a schematic system of duping people through this call centre, which had been in operation here for last four months, he said.
"During this period, they have duped several people of crores of rupees. The specifics of the money earned fraudulently are being worked out," the senior police officer said.
Explaining their modus operandi, Mr Singh said, the accused would call up job seekers, whose data they had collected from website, and assure them of jobs in banking sector or with investment firms.
"They would send their targets an email with fake job offer letters from big and popular companies and then ask them to remit Rs 1,500 to Rs 15,000 in the name of processing fee," he said.
"They had six account numbers of different banks and also used Paytm wallet to get the money transferred from a target," he said.
Later, they would withdraw the money using ATM cards and stop taking calls from the victim. The accused frequently kept changing their phone numbers in order to evade being tracked, Mr Singh.
Police have seized five computers, 30 mobile phones, among others from the fake call centre, he said.
A case was registered at the Sector 20 police station and those arrested were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 467 (forgery) and related offences.
Charges have also been pressed against them under the Information Technology Act sections 66 (computer related offences), 66c (identity theft), 66d (cheating by impersonation), Singh added.
According to police, the call centre, which was not registered and had no document or paper work done regarding its operation as one, had no international connection.
Those absconding include the owner Chandan Jha, manager Ankur Singh and three assistants Chintu aka Shekhar, Deepak and Salauddin, and police have launched a search operation to arrest them, they said.