Rs 500-cr call centre scam: The Thane Call Centre Scandal was the biggest of its kind in India that came to spotlight a week ago. The Mumbai police made a surprise raid at a half-dozen of call centres (BPO) in Mira Road and busted a multi-core call centre scam that duped thousands of American tax payers. The mastermind behind the outrage is a 23-year-old Shahgar Thakkar alias Shaggy. This guy made a fortune of over Rs. 500 crore in less than a year, a multimillionaire, who lives a lavish lifestyle and owns several high-end cars.
Who is Shahgar Thakkar?
Shahgar Thakkar is a Mumbai wala, who is now a multimillionaire is on the run after Police raided multiple BPOs at the premises of Hari Om IT Park, Universal Outsourcing Services and Oswal House in Mira Road.
Police is afraid that he might flee the country. He is only 23 years of age, in the wake of completing his graduation, he got his hands grimy by collaborating with fraudsters over the world. He has a few contacts in the US who helped him to get US residents contact numbers from hackers.
Rs 500-cr call centre scam
Americans are the primary target in the IRS tele scam, and this isn’t first time we catch wind of IRS telephone impersonation scam. These guys made calls to the US citizens impersonating as employees of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and debilitate Americans to clear their tax dues immediately or they could be in trouble. The victims are then forced to make an immediate payment, usually through pre-paid debit card or gift cards.
Shahgar Thakkar carefully acquired contact numbers of the US tax payers, especially black money holders, from hackers based in the US. He paid Rs 1 lakh for up to 10,000 contacts.
How Shahgar Thakkar Recruited Callers
Shahgar Thakkar invited candidates through ads on social media regardless of their education and experience. Once candidates are selected, they are put in extreme training in US accent. They are given a six-page script for mock calls and once they are perfected the script, they are put in live calls as representatives.
Employees were trained at several styles and stages. There are several groups of callers, for initiating calls, negotiating, and threatening. They were trained accordingly.
They used VoIP and placed calls to US citizens and used to tell their clients that he/she has defaulted on taxes and must pay up immediately or else they would get arrested.
Callers would first demand $10,000-20,000, later settle for $5,000-3,000. Victims told to make payment through pre-loaded cards. Victims told to share 16-digit code of pre-loaded cash card with the call centre employee, who helped debit the decided amount. Though done through online payment mode, the amount debited by the victim in cash card would be redeemed.
They use to make no less than 100 calls per day of which 10 to 15 calls would materialise and of these three to four individuals would make payment under threat by the conmen.
How Much the Employees were Paid
The money generated was part between the employees in India and the US gang members. They kept 30% as commission and transferred the rest 70% of the money to Shahgar Thakkar through hawala method.
The employees were paid between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 40,000 per month and some were paid up to Rs. 1 lakh, per month. In addition, they were paid up to Rs. 1 lakh as incentives and hat knock the excitement of others to profit.
The seating arrangement of employees were classifies based in their earring potential. The top floor guys use to make around $1.5 lakh per month and the lowest floor guys would make around $5-7 lakh per month.
Call centre Racket
The accused Shahgar Thakkar is on the run and also his close associate Tapash. Police is on the chase. ”Despite his youth, Thakkar has made a fortune, that too in a short span of time. At a very young age he has mastered the art of cheating foreigners by sitting in India.” an accused said.
The company used to make Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.50 crore and an annual turnover which would be above Rs 300 crore. Police is furthering probing the case by interrogating the arrested persons. Police have arrested 70 callers and other 630 have been booked under several sections of IT Act and Indian Telegraph Act.
We have found a couple of WhatsApp groups on which the call centre employees were present and would get data on gullible US citizens,” said a police officer. Various US agencies are in touch with Thane police on details about the investigation.