The police team sprung into action and seized everything, including the scripts that guided callers to convince victims to share their bank details.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Whitefield Division) S Girish, who oversaw the dismantling of the two call centres, told TOI: “It appears to have international ramifications and the amounts defrauded appear to be quite huge. The gang has targeted US citizens We dig deeper into the modus operandi adopted and how the money was channeled to the major call center operators in India.
In fact, cops landed at both call centers after the Assistant Police Commissioner Shanthmallappa received information that confidential data relating to US citizens was being collected and misused. The raids were carried out by teams led by Mahadevapura police inspector Prashanth R Varni and Inspector Whitefield Shantaram.
Girish said the gang would reach potential targets through text messages and voicemails, saying attempts were being made (by strangers) to compromise their bank accounts or e-commerce portal accounts. All calls made by the targets to cross-check would land in the two call centers in Bangalore and the latter would offer to resolve the financial transactions.
Works in three layers
Key operators had implemented three layers in the call center: callers, bankers and salespeople. The caller used to initiate conversations and notify targeted individuals of fraudulent transactions found in their accounts, or lottery and gift cards. The callers transferred the calls to the bankers, who behaved like bank executives or representatives of e-commerce companies and determined whether the target would prey on them or opt out. Following this, the closers took over and defrauded the targets.
Additional Police Commissioner (East) A Subramanyeshwar Rao said: “Gang members used to drop calls on their side whenever their target looked smart or disconnected the call if they suspected a criminal act. The police are trying to determine if the money was channeled to the gang through the hawala.
DCP Girish said: “Given the seriousness of the problem, it is likely that other agencies, including the Criminal Investigation Department, will join the investigation.”
Police added that the 72 callers received cash wages. “Usually, companies pay their employees’ salaries through banking services. But this gang only paid salaries and commissions in cash,” Rao added.