Cyber Crime unit of Special Cell of Delhi Police has busted a fake call centre cum placement agency operating out of Noida that had duped thousands of job seekers of their money. The fraudsters introduced themselves as employees of a prominent job site and after taking the victim into confidence would ask the victims to deposit money in accounts manned by them.
A team comprising of Inspr. Bhanu Partap, SI Suneel Siddhu (the Investigating Officer), SI Manjit, SI Prabhat HCt. Ravinder, Ct. Hukum, Ct. Jitender and other staff was constituted under the supervision of Raman Lamba, ACP CyPAD, for investigation. The team collected technical details including digital footprints and money trail of the fraudulent activities run by the fake and bogus placement service. The fraudsters were using multiple bogus bank accounts and digital identities to cover their illegal acts. On the basis of the technical investigation conducted, this fake placement service was identified and the location of its operational office was traced to a posh office complex in Sector – 8, NOIDA. Discreet local enquiries confirmed that the office had a call centre working during the day.
On Sept. 20 the high end office of this gang located in Sector-8, Noida was raided by the team and the accused persons namely Kunal Singh (master mind of the racket), Gaurav Gupta, Vishal Tanwar, Shashank Shekar and Shubham all from Uttar Pradesh, were arrested. Kunal Singh, 35, originally hails from Muzaffarnagar, UP and currently was residing in Noida. He is a science graduate and is the mastermind of the crime. He is previously found involved in similar crimes in Pune, Maharashtra, and was arrested in the year 2016. After coming out of jail, he did not mend his ways and resorted to the same modus operandi to cheat people.
The other accused are Gaurav Gupta, 26, a school drop-out; Vishal Tanwar alias Sunny, 23, of Modinagar in UP. He completed his graduation in the year 2016; Shashank Shekhar, 29, a resident of Nandgram, Ghaziabad and a school dropout; Shubham, 23, Govindpuri, Modi Nagar, UP. He is pursuing his polytechnic course in Civil Engineering from Modi Nagar; and, Kalpendra Singh Rajput, 42. He provided the bogus bank accounts and helped in routing the defrauded money.
The police recovered 18 mobile phones, 13 computer hard disks, one server, 12 head phones used for calling the gullible job seekers, 4 laptops, 5 debit cards from accused Kunal, 4 rubber stamps for fake verifications, etc, and, 5 bank accounts of the accused persons have been frozen.
The accused targeted unemployed youth for cheating and started working with 11 associates who were given separate desktop computers, headphones and other accessories for calling the job aspirants, sending emails, payment links, etc. He used to receive the cheated money in multiple bank accounts opened in the name of bogus companies such as BTT Online Services, Ask Solutions, etc. The said amount was further transferred in multiple accounts to hide the money trail.
Further startling facts have emerged that, in order to give a cover to his fake job placement racket and call centre, the accused Kunal was also running an online news channel in the name of ‘i star 24’ from the same premises. The accused persons have been arrested and have been remanded to police custody. Further investigation is in progress.
The mastermind Kunal had set up this high end office in a posh area in sector -8, Noida about 8 months back by installing 17 work stations and connecting them to a common server. The data of the job aspirants was obtained by them from various job portals and the same was categorised profile wise. Each staff member was assigned worksheets with details of the job seekers and tele-calling was done through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). The caller introduced themselves as agents of prominent online job placement service, and offered to forward their bio-data/CV to prominent companies as per their profiles. The job seekers were asked to pay an initial amount for registration and once they agreed an email from an impersonating email ID with a payment link was sent to the victim to pay the amount. After receiving the initial amount, the victim was asked to submit scanned copies of documents on a separate link and was further demanded to pay a refundable fee for verification of documents. In a similar manner, the victims were induced to pay many times on one pretext or the other and in some cases the total amount paid by a single victim was as high as Rs 50,000. And once the victims realised the fraud played upon they and started pressing for return of their money, the fraudsters assured them of refund. For this, they sent the victims, a payment link and promo code. However, the moment victims fed that code, money got debited from their UPI linked Payment App accounts. Since the helpless victims could not trace the physical address of the fraudsters, they had to bear the brunt of the fraud.
The accused have confessed to have obtained the biodata of around 10,000 job seekers and they had been able to dupe more than 1,000 innocent job seekers for various amounts in a period of 8 months. The main accused Kunal has been found to be involved in a similar type of fraud earlier and was arrested by Pune Police in the year 2016.