Sham call center sold payday loans to US clients, 23 detainees | News from Noida

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NOIDA: As many as 23 people, most of them graduates, were arrested as police claimed to have dismantled a bogus call center in Area 59 on Tuesday. The young people are said to have duped dozens of foreigners, mostly Americans, into offering them cheap “payday loans”.
The call center was operated in a building in Sector 59, rented by alleged mastermind Bhawani Singh. Police also seized 23 central processing units of computers, cell phones, 12 debit cards and six microchips during the raid, which was carried out following a whistleblower.
Along with Bhawani, five youths from Gujarat, nine from Rajasthan, four from UP, two from Gurgaon and one from Delhi and Maharashtra were arrested, cops said, adding that all were aware of their involvement in criminal activity. but continued in the same way. for a salary between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 per month.
Police said the youths would call their targets in the United States on their landline numbers and leave them voicemail messages, informing them of a payday loan offer worth around $ 150, demanding repayment $ 200 instead of the loan within six months. Voicemail messages sent to targets also left a toll-free number.
Payday loans are unsecured short-term loans for a few hundred or thousand dollars in which a user pays a fee that is equivalent to an advance on their salary and are popular among Americans in the weaker economic section.
When a target called back, callers asked them to pay between $ 100 and $ 200 as an “application fee” for the loan.
“Callers would look up their targets’ 16-digit PIN code and share it with details of a US-based intermediary who would help transfer the money to intermediaries in India, who in turn would change the payment to dollars. in rupees on a commission basis, an officer said.
Police said it was Bhawani, a Class 12 faint from Nagaur, Rajasthan, who started the bogus call center in Noida about a month and a half ago employing 22 young people. “He learned the tricks of the trade from a friend with whom he had worked at a similar call center in Gurgaon,” said Gautam Budh Nagar SSP Ajay Pal Sharma.
“The call center enlisted the services of a technician, Shambhu, who helped them design the voicemail system through which calls would land on the landline numbers of US citizens. Their details were purchased from a US based merchant for as little as Rs 5,000, ”he added.
The SSP said that while they were reviewing the mode of transaction, an initial interrogation revealed that Vijay, an intermediary, is in contact with someone linked to a hawala operator. “We are also collecting data on the number of Americans targeted by the group over the past few months and a half,” he said.
Police have yet to arrest technician Shambhu and intermediary Vijay. “Efforts are underway to stop them,” said an officer.



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