From A Correspondent
Shillong, Aug 29: The Special Cell of the East Khasi Hills Police claims to have busted a fake call center wherein unscrupulous persons were cheating through Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). So far nine persons have been arrested by the police.
According to East Khasi Hills Superintendent of Police (City) Vivek Syiem, these fraudsters targeted mostly gullible American citizens whose details were acquired from certain websites by impersoting as Interl Revenue Service (IRS) agents.
The fraudsters would threaten them to make payments by making them purchase gift cards from Walmart or Target Store for tax payment defaults or face jail sentence.
“The purchaser then hands over the 16-digit number to the caller who then sends the numbers to a vendor in the US to get the amount reimbursed. The same is then remitted to India by hawala channels,” Syiem said.
The business was run from the rented premises of SS Net Com and the building immediately adjacent to RBI Building at Cleve Colony in the city.
The fraud call centre M/s IFA Enterprise rented three floors of the building of SSNet.Com at Cleve Colony and was run by Amit Bhowmick and Sunny Mukherjee alias Faisal, both of whom were stationed outside and would come after certain intervals to pay salaries.
While another call centre M/s BPO Zurich was operating from the RBI premises also at Cleve Colony.
The police said the scamsters were trying to wind up and set shop somewhere else due to raids in several parts of the country.
However, on Monday evening, after receiving specific inputs that the owners of the IFA Enterprise call centre had come in their Chevrolet Cruze (AS01AZ 0101) and were in an apartment at Cleve Colony, several teams of the Special Cell were despatched.
At about 7:30 pm, simultaneous raids were conducted in the apartments at two different places in Cleve Colony where Amit Bhowmick (24) of Tura, Vivek Thapa of Cleve Colony and i Gurung of Lower Nongrim Hills, also involved with the centre, were apprehended.
Seventy-seven hard disks that had been removed from CPUs, cash amounting to Rs 1 lakh and a huge number of incrimiting documents, including scripts, were seized from the apartment rented by IFA Enterprise at Upper Cleve Colony.
Also one Pynshan Mawthoh of Madanrting, who was one of the magers of M/s IFA Enterprise and had come out of the apartment, was also apprehended.
From the apartment rented by Ms/ BPO Zurich at Lower New Colony, electronic gadgets used in the scam, Rs 1 lakh in cash and several incrimiting documents were recovered and seized.
Two persons – Rijo Christian Joseph (26) of Ahmedabad and Sweety Sutnga of Lower Nongrim Hills – were also apprehended.
Two separate cases under Laitumkhrah police station have been registered.
The arrested were forwarded to the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate here, which remanded them in police remand for six days.
Meanwhile, search was conducted on Tuesday in three floors rented by M/s IFA Enterprise Ltd at SS Net.Com where 85 CPUs and several IRS scripts were recovered and seized.
Two employees of SS Net.Com Mobiliser – Christopher Kurbah of Lawsohtun and mager Kiren Damai of Digboi – have also been arrested in connection with the IFA Enterprise Call Centre.
In the process, it was also gathered that another call centre M/s Dasanbha Enterprise owned by one Nicky War of Jaiaw locality of Shillong along with others were planning to close shop.
Nicky was summoned immediately and after questioning him it was found that the call centre would call American citizens by asking the customer if he/she suffers from any sickness or had undergone any surgical operation from a range of health problems. They would ask the customer if he/she has got hold of an advocate. And if their answer was no, they would claim to be a reputed American firm and help them in getting “potential compensation” for a fee of $650, only to dupe the persons.
Sixty-three computers, a server, seals and 43 hard disks were seized. A separate case is being taken up at Laitumkhrah police station.
M/s Dasanbha Enterprise’s owner Nicky War has been arrested and will be produced in court on Wednesday.
The police said a full-fledged investigation was on to reach to the bottom of the case and b rest of the culprits.