New Delhi (Sputnik): A basement office, a few computer terminals with a high-speed internet connection and a treasure-trove of carefully mined data, that is all it takes for con-artists to dupe victims globally.
In a series of crackdowns on such call centers in Noida, which lies in the vicinity of Delhi, India's national capital, a joint team of Indian and American police has hunted down 25 facilities and arrested around 300 people involved in the operation.
The Indian central investigation agency was tipped off about such facilities by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Canadian Police six months ago, and since then sleuths of all the three countries have been working in coordination to nab the organised fraudsters.
"The operation began in July with a top-secret meeting coordinated by the Interpol in the Senior Superintendent (SSP) office in Noida participated by officers from FBI, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Interpol, India's central intelligence agencies and Uttar Pradesh Police," an official familiar with the developments told Sputnik on the condition of anonymity.
A massive crackdown on fake call centres in Noida began in the following months.
"The modus operandi of these call centres was that they made fake calls targeting foreigners and asked for a fee to fix their computers by threatening them with virus attack possibility. They also offered to lure benefits in lieu of availing their services. Between July 20 and December 21 this year, 25 fake call centres have been busted after they were found running dubious operations," Ajay Pal Sharma, top cop of Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar, said at the time of the arrest.
Close to 300 people have been arrested in the raids, over 400 computer systems seized while frauds worth millions of dollars, including those targeting foreigners, were unearthed during the process, Sharma added.
Meanwhile, IT professionals in India are concerned that such news brings ill repute to the industry.
"They are not call centres. They are conmen doing their work like any other fraud does. The media is full of news calling them to be call centres. A reader abroad gets the wrong communication and even our clients are feeling uncomfortable about this," says Prashant Dikshit, a medical transcription service provider who has been in the field for the past two decades.