HYDERABAD, INDIA — Three local call centers in Hyderabad, India were raided after the police found out they had been conning at least 15 American citizens of $20,000 daily.
Describing the scam, Cyberabad Police Commissioner M Stephen Raveendra said, “Tele-callers would pose as representatives of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency while zeroing in on their American targets, saying they intercepted a consignment of drugs dispatched to them from Mexico.”
“Threatening to lodge a case, the con operators would force them to cough up personal details, while telling them two addresses are linked to their database. And U.S. law enforcement agencies had seized drugs and suspicious monetary transactions to Mexico and Columbia in their second address,” he continued.
After threatening to slap drug trafficking and money laundering charges, fraudsters connect their targets to a colleague, who would pose as a U.S. marshal. The second caller would then assume a reconciliatory tone offering, saying they can be cleared if a penalty is paid in the form of Amazon/Apple gift coupon for $5,000.
Raveendra added that the culprits would then trade the money for cryptocurrency on Trust Wallet, before encashing it through localbitcoin.com in the form of cash.
Cyberabad police raided these centers last Friday, uncovering operations like ARJ Solutions, AG Solutions, and Vertez Solutions.
The crackdown resulted in 115 arrests, including Vertez Solution’s prominent members, Shivam Pradhan and Deepu Thapar. ARJ and AG Solutions, connected to Gujarat-based owners, had functioned in Hyderabad for over two years, employing 80 tele-callers and leaders.