Delhi: Bogus call center busted, 42 arrested for intimidation, scamming foreign nationals to pay in bitcoins

At least forty-two people were arrested for allegedly running a call center in Delhi’s Peeragarhi district and defrauding foreign nationals by standing as officers of law enforcement agencies.

The accused has defrauded more than 3,500 people of about Rs 70 crore. More than 90 digital devices were seized from the accused and Rs 4.5 lakhs was recovered in cash.

Police said the accused used to extort money from foreign nationals in the form of Bitcoins and gift cards after saying their details had arisen in the event of a crime.

During interrogation, the accused revealed that they were liaising with imitation foreign nationals such as various law enforcement agencies and other government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the US Marshals Service, etc. The accused then tells the victims that their bank accounts and other assets are frozen as their details have been discovered at a crime scene and bank accounts run in their name, which were used for illegal transactions to drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia. They also threaten the victims from immediate arrest.

Police said the accused used to give victims two options, either to take legal action or go for an alternative dispute resolution, which they believe would be quicker and easier.

When the victim chose to enter into a dispute resolution, the accused asked them to share financial details such as bank account numbers and the amount of money in those accounts.

In the case of Bitcoins, these were transferred to wallets operated by the call center. The victims were told that these were government safe wallets.

If the victim agreed to buy gift cards, they were told to share the number of their cards and that these cards would be linked to their new bank accounts, the official said.

The police said, the accused also revealed that each caller (first level of the scam) was paid Rs on average. 20,000-25,000 per month as salary while the team leaders and fielders (second level) are paid Rs 45,000-50,000 per month. The salary of a shift manager was Rs 75,000 per month. In addition, all employees were paid incentives. For every USD that was successfully scammed, the caller got Rs 2 and the team leader got Rs 4 as incentive. In addition, holiday and annual bonuses were paid to all employees, police said.

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