Loan app fraud busted, four detained for extorting scores of people using fake call center
Gurugram: A bogus call center that allegedly extorted money from people under the guise of recovering loans obtained through instant loan disbursement mobile apps was busted and four people including a woman were arrested between Friday and Saturday , police said.
Gurugram police said they received several complaints against the suspects. On the basis of a preliminary investigation and a denunciation, the investigators had mounted a technical surveillance. Following this, a search was carried out and one of the suspects was arrested on Friday. They added that based on information provided by the first suspect and details gathered through surveillance, three others were arrested on Saturday.
Police say the suspects set up an illegal call center to call victims and extort money from them, threatening to reveal their responsibilities to friends, family and colleagues – all the usual traps of a fraud typical mobile phone application loan. This is one of many scams and illegal call centers that Gurugram Police have busted in the recent past.
In March, 38 people were arrested in Udyog Vihar after police received more than 50 complaints against them.
In April, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) task force found 600 illegal loan applications, 27 of which were banned. With the rise in digital fraud cases, the central bank is reviewing know-your-customer (KYC) standards to identify shortcomings and close gaps. In 2020, about 60.2% of recorded cybercrime cases were related to fraud, or 30,142 cases out of 50,035, according to the latest data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Police said a case under sections 384 (extortion), 420 (cheating), 120 B (conspiracy) and 465 (false) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 66, 66B, 67 and 67A of the information technology was registered at the Cyber East police station on Saturday, police said.
Gurugram Police Commissioner Kala Ramachandran said suspects were running call centers in Gurugram and Noida. “Their modus operandi was to dupe people under the pretext of offering a small amount of loan to people in need, and then they got back money many times the money loaned by charging a very high interest rate. They also charged treatment fees and harassed not only the victim but also their family, friends and relatives using abusive and threatening language. The suspects also used to send obscene and vulgar messages and transform photos of the victims and send them to their family, friends and relatives to repay the loan before the due date,” she said. declared.
“They registered their business through fraudulent means by appointing fictitious administrators and ran the illegal call center under his guise,” she said, adding that the investigation was ongoing and that other suspects linked to the scam could be stopped.
The suspects have been identified as Deepak, Sakshi Mehta, Ankit Kumar and Divyansh Kumar. They were operating from the Palam Vihar area, police said.
Police say the call center hired people and they were trained to trick people, each of them getting a 25% cut on money extorted under the guise of collecting loans. They are also trained in image morphing, police said.
Police have received several complaints about how the victims, who took out loans from 35 apps, were blackmailed into paying after their tweaked nude photographs were sent to them or their relatives on WhatsApp.
Ramachandran said the gang has been active in Gurugram since July 2021. “They have disbursed micro loans to around one million people across India. They started their operations from Udyog Vihar Phase 5 and later moved to Udyog Vihar Phase 4. The company started its operations by partnering with a private finance company which was raided by ED in Maharashtra. Then they linked up with a non-banking investment and trading company in Delhi. The defendants were taken into custody for three days. Their COO is a Singapore-based Chinese identified as Tay Zester,” she said.
The arrested woman was fluent in Chinese as she had studied in China for her master’s degree and stayed there for two years.
Police said at least 65 employees each had been hired by the company for their centers in Noida and Gurugram.