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Joint operation by Delhi Police, FBI and Interpol busts a call centre gang from India which scammed US citizens

A call center gang operating from India, which defrauded US citizens of $20 million by posing as a high-ranking official from the US Drugs Enforcement Administration (DEA), has been busted in a joint operation by Delhi Police, the FBI, and Interpol, as reported by Delhi Police. The team has arrested six individuals, including four in India, one in Uganda, and one in Canada.

The arrested individuals are Vatsal Mehta, Parth Armarkar, Deepak Arora, and Prashant Kumar. Mehta is believed to be the mastermind, while Armarkar managed call centers in Uganda and India. The gang would impersonate a senior DEA officer named Uttam Dhillon and contact potential victims.

According to HCS Dhaliwal, Special Commissioner of Police, Delhi Police Special Cell, the FBI informed them about Armarkar, who had been living in Uganda and running call centers there. Armarkar impersonated the identity of Uttam Dhillon, a senior DEA officer, and made calls to potential victims.

The gang employed a scam technique involving informing targets that child pornographic material had been confiscated at the US-Mexico border, claiming their contact information was found during the investigation. To avoid legal consequences, the victims were coerced into paying a penalty.

The gang carefully selected targets, primarily wealthy individuals who were unlikely to report the scam to law enforcement. They conducted thorough research and targeted victims based on factors such as wealth, technical knowledge, and loneliness. The impersonation of a real DEA administrator named Uttam Dhillon added credibility to their scheme.

While operating mainly from Uganda, the gang occasionally made calls from India. In one instance, Armarkar allegedly asked an Indian target to pay the penalty with gold bars instead of money. Regardless of the victim’s location within the US, the gang ensured someone would collect the payment.

The FBI has interviewed approximately 50 victims, and the total amount defrauded is estimated to be $20 million. The gang specifically targeted victims with sums exceeding $100,000 per person, meticulously profiling them by scanning social media accounts and exploiting vulnerabilities such as lack of technical expertise or isolation.

Law enforcement expects more victims to come forward. The gang used the dark web to identify individuals involved in consuming child pornography, creating a sense of vulnerability among their targets. Believing they were under investigation, victims made payments through cryptocurrencies or wire transfers to avoid trouble.


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