The Delhi police have busted a fake call centre in the Rajouri Garden area of the city and arrested 17 persons for allegedly duping foreigners on the pretext of providing them technical support, officials said on Friday.
Police said that the accused used to send pop-ups to unsuspecting people that their devices have been hacked and infected with malware and then cheat them on the pretext of providing technical support by Microsoft.
The 17 persons arrested include callers. The police also seized 20 computers from their possession.
According to the police, a total of 2,268 people were duped of USD 1,081,365 (Rs 8 crore) between October 2019 and November 2020.
A complaint was received by Delhi police that an illegal international call centre was being operated from the Rajouri Garden area from where unsuspecting people residing in foreign countries were being cheated on the pretext of providing technical support by Microsoft Inc.
Technical analysis was done with respect to the mobile numbers as well as the money trail and the location of the accused was confirmed.
A raid was conducted at the premises and the accused persons were found operating a fake call centre from where calls were being made to people in foreign countries and they were being cheated by the accused who were pretending to be from Microsoft Inc.
"At the time of the raid, the accused were trying to dupe a female doctor residing in the United States. The call was taken over by the raiding team and the victim was briefed about the scam and was thus saved from being cheated," said DCP Cyber Cell Anyesh Roy.
The key accused, Sahil Dilavari, is a graduate and had been operating the fake call centre for the last three years.
The accused sent pop-ups to the computers of such unsuspecting people that their system has been compromised and they should call at the given number for technical assistance by Microsoft. When the victim called, the accused pretended to be from the Microsoft technical assistance team and made the victim give remote access to their computer to them.
After that, they would tell the victim that several malicious programmes including malwares, spywares, etc have been found in their system when in reality there was no such issue.
"They further cautioned the victim that their banking credentials might be compromised if immediate remedial steps were not taken. The victim, fearing for her/his financial security, agreed to pay the amount asked for by the accused. The payment was made to shell companies in the US and Canada from where it was wired to the accused's bank accounts in India," the officer added.
Upon receiving the payment, the accused pretended to clean up the malware, viruses, etc. from the victim's system and also made them sign up for a subscription, sometimes for up to three years. All this while the victim was under the impression that he or she was getting legitimate technical support from Microsoft Inc