Employees from nine call centers in Maharashtra extorted over 36 million dollars from Americans by making faux calls and threatening people with tax fraud or tax evasion.
The callers pretended to be American Internal Revenue Services or IRS officials threatening and blackmailing people with tax investigations and raids.
They succeeded in extorting money as many unsuspecting Americans agreed to pay anything between $500 and $60,000 to avoid investigation. The alleged scammers asked Americans to buy prepaid cash cards in order to settle outstanding tax debts and also used the threat of arrest against people who did not pay up.
The call center employees were having a fun ride until Tuesday when 200 policemen swooped in to cut the lines. This was followed by 800 workers getting interrogated through the night, culminating into arrest of about 70 of them. Among these, around eight were kingpins who had also crafted a business model to dupe people.
Police let go off the rest with a warning."The motive was earning money. They were running an illegal process, posing themselves as officers of the (U.S.) Internal Revenue Service,"
said Parag Manere, a deputy commissioner of police.
The employees, some very young and fresh out of college, made calls by using leaked database of US numbers which was stolen and passed on by the owner of one of the companies based in the US.
Their parents, however, said that their wards had been tricked into it on the pretext of doing legitimate work.
The raids started late Tuesday and continued till the wee hours of Wednesday. Police has also confiscated computer, laptops and other hardware in the raid.