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News : Chennai Call Centre was ‘Vishing’ Gang HQ
Chennai, India, April 29, 2015 -- Fraudsters in New Delhi who the Chennai police busted in a countrywide 'vishing' racket on Monday planned the rip-off meticulously, opening a call centre and manning it with more than 15 employees for at least a year, investigating officers said.
Deepkumar Devakinandan, 33, and Praveenkumar Kashyap, 32, of New Delhi's Uttam Nagar locality, where the call centre was located, swindled more than Rs 8 crore from at least 250 people in Chennai — and likely swindled hundreds of crores of rupees from thousands of people across the country.
"The kingpin of the scam, Ashraf Ali, employed young banking professionals to fraudulently obtain personal banking data from the public," an investigating officer said. "He told his employees that the firm was a back-end office for private banks, on whose behalf they were collecting data."
Investigators brought Devakinandan and Kashyap, who they said appear to be lower-level members of the gang, to Chennai on Tuesday but a city police team has remained in Delhi and launched a search for Ali and four of his accomplices who have gone on the run.
The investigating officer said Ali and a close accomplice Sunny worked in a telemarketing firm, where they learned how to manipulate phone numbers to extract information from people. Ali set up a firm, AMShopping.in, which he also used as a source to obtain the credit and debit data of customers, while simultaneously running the vishing scam.
Ali recruited professionals fluent in multiple languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati, the officer said, adding that the gang's victims included police officers in Chennai.
Investigators from Chennai will soon visit Gujarat, where police busted a similar racket in Surat with the arrest of five men. The investigating officer said they will question the suspects in the Gujarat scam to see if they have any links with the Delhi gang or defrauded bank customers in Chennai.
The Chennai police set up a special team to investigate the case after receiving more than 250 complaints from people in the city. Some complainants said they lost up to 50,000 each to the racketeers, others said the fraudsters had cheated each of them of 1 lakh to 2 lakh.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, April 30, 2015