Telangana police on Friday announced the arrest of 115 people, including telecallers, after busting three fake call centres that targeted US citizens through VOIP calls and coerced them to buy gift cards, later redeemed for cryptocurrency.
Cyberabad Commissioner Stephen Raveendra said the Gujarat-registered companies operated in Hyderabad for two years, duping at least 20 Americans of $2,000 daily.
The companies, ARJ Solutions, AG Solutions, and Vertez Solutions, hired graduates from across the country as telecallers. Madhapur police took suo-motu cognisance of the fraud based on a tip-off and have registered two FIRs. After raiding their premises across four locations in Madhapur, the police arrested the organisers as well as the telecallers of these fake call centres, the Commissioner told reporters.
In the first case, the police found that Ahmedabad-based ARG Solutions and AG Solutions gathered information, such as phone numbers and personal data, from callcentersindia.com, a Leads Generation portal. The telecallers impersonated US officials and threatened victims about suspicious parcels in their name, forcing them to buy gift cards to supposedly resolve the issue.
The call centres sold the gift card codes at lower rates on the PAXFUL website. Buyers sent cryptocurrency, which the fraudsters converted into stablecoin USDT via crypto exchange TRUST, the police commissioner said. These vendors then pay in cash through intermediaries at various locations. Notably, the fraudsters remain unaware of the intermediary’s identity until just prior to the transaction, ensuring the conversion of cryptocurrency into Indian Rupees (INR).
In another scam, call centres told US citizens about fake Amazon orders in their name for iPhones or MacBooks. Those who confirmed got telecallers collecting personal details under the pretext of resolving the “order”. Telecallers passed on data to “team leaders” posing as Amazon executives, who manipulated victims into buying Amazon gift cards by promising to cancel the fake orders. The gift card codes were again sold on PAXFUL for cryptocurrency and converted to USDT via Trust before exchanging with local vendors for cash.
The arrested people were identified as Md Ansari Mohirfan (ARJ Solutions), Ghanchi Akib (AG Solutions), Pradeep Vinod Rathod (Vertez Solutions), Osman Ghani Khan (Vertez Solutions), floor leaders in Vertez Solutions Shivam Pradhan and Deepu Thapar and others. During the raids, the police recovered 115 CPUs, 7 laptops, 94 monitors, 4 routers, 120 mobile phones, an Audi car registered in Gujarat, and Rs 2.55 lakh in cash.