Assam Police busts online scam racket, detains 191 youths
The Guwahati police commissioner said the 191 arrested persons are aged between 21 and 25 years and include 47 girls
The Crime Branch of the Assam Police busted a large racket of online scammers from different locations in Guwahati and surrounding areas and arrested 191 online scammers, including 47 girls, on Friday, a senior official said on Friday.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, commissioner of police Diganta Barah said that police teams conducted raids in eight different locations, including houses, buildings, and malls, and seized 164 desktop computers, 90 laptops, 26 mobile phones, and various electronic gadgets. Barah said that they had been planning for these raids for sometime and initially collected all the required information. The raids began on Thursday night and continued till Friday afternoon. He said the arrested persons are aged between 21 and 25 years.
The three masterminds were also arrested during the operation and they were identified as Debajyoti Dey alias David (aged 30-31 years) from Karimganj, Rajen Sidana (owner of two call centres) from Ludhiana, and Dibyam Arora (aged 31) from Delhi.
The raids were conducted at Guwahati’s Bamunimaidam, Borbari, Rajgarh, Gandhibasti, ABC point and Ganneshnguri and police recovered several documents as evidence in the case, said Barah.
Another call centre at Rajgarh’s Borbora complex, which allegedly is in the name of Tasdiqur Rahman was reportedly being run from Noida, was also raided . Police detained 21 people from there and only three of them are from Assam.
Police said that these fake call centres were found to have international ties, with connections to gang members in Delhi, Gurgaon and other locations.
“Victims are both Indians and from other countries like United States. They suffered financial losses, with payments made in dollars. The scammers used to transfer the amounts to their other accounts through hawala channels,” Barah said.
Barah revealed that the scammers used to shift their call centres frequently to different locations to avoid detection.
The recruitment for these call centres primarily occurred through social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and others. The employees of these call centres received incentives based on the number of successful scams they conducted, he added.
They used to contact educated unemployed youths through social media platforms and were trained for the job. They used to employ youths from Assam, Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra, and Haryana. “Many employees claimed they were unaware of the illegal nature of their work, while others were motivated by the lure of easy money,” Barah said.
About the methods used by the scammers, Barah said that the scammers used to post tech-support staff, using pop-up advertisements and toll-free numbers to deceive victims into believing they were contacting legitimate service centres.
“Some people avoided the popups but some fell to the traps. Whenever someone clicked on those links, the scammers got the access to the devices and collected all personal information and details of bank accounts. They used to bound the victims to making payments via bitcoin or gift vouchers etc,” he said.
The commissioner cautioned property owners to be careful while renting out buildings to prevent the establishment of such illegal operations.