65 Arrested in Fake Call Center Ploy Used to Scam US Citizens

Police in Delhi, India arrested 65 people last week who allegedly operated a call center aimed at extorting U.S. citizens.

Police said they arrested 63 "tele-callers," as well as the call center's two owners, Lakhan Jagwani and Vijender Singh Rawat, according to India Today. The callers allegedly pretended to be U.S. officials.

"On July 28, as per information, our team conducted a raid at Hari Nagar, where several callers were engaged in making and receiving the calls by impersonating as government officials of US Customs and Border Protection Department, Drug Enforcement Agency, sheriff officer, FBI and treasury office," Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Urvija Goel told the news magazine.

"The two owners along with 63 tele-callers were found at the spot," she added.

Indian news sources report that callers at the center allegedly tried to convince victims of the scheme that their social security numbers would be suspended.

65 arrested for operating fake call center
Police in Delhi, India, said they arrested 65 people last week who allegedly targeted U.S. citizens by impersonating government officials. In this photo taken on May 24, 2005, workers man the phones in one of the call centers located in the Indian city of Bangalore. Michael Crabtree/Getty Images

"They extorted money from overseas victims in the name of saving them from legal action and arrest. On Wednesday, a police team conducted a raid at the call centre in Hari Nagar where many people were engaged in making and receiving international calls," Goel said, according to The Times of India.

The scam began with a pre-recorded robocall that purported to be from a legal department, according to India Today. Victims of the scheme were allegedly told they faced legal action and that their social security numbers could be suspended. They were also asked to transfer money from their bank accounts onto e-gift cards.

During the raid last week, police said they seized 58 computers, two laptops, internet routers and data found on electronic devices.

Delhi police did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for more information about the arrests.

Earlier this month, Indian authorities said they busted a fake call center in Kolkata, where callers allegedly posed as employees from Amazon's customer care department, India Today reported.

Kolkata police conducted a raid in July and said that they arrested 11 people in connection with the scheme.

In a separate raid last month, Kolkata police arrested 12 people in connection with another call center.

"The raid conducted at 3am led to the arrest of the gang that was cheating people based in the US and Australia," police told The Times of India.

The arrests were among several call center raids in recent weeks, according to the publication.