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Cyber Crime

Busted! How Punjab Police Took Down Two Fake Call Centers and Arrested 155 Scammers in a Dramatic Night Operation

– Punjab Police busted two fake call centers in Mohali, arresting 155 people involved in duping U.S. citizens via fraudulent calls.
– The operation uncovered scams involving gift cards and fraudulent loans.



नोएडा में Loan दिलाने के नाम पर Fraud करने वाले Fake Call Centre का खुलासा, Online Site पर लोगों से करते थे संपर्क

In an overnight operation spanning Tuesday and Wednesday, the Cyber Crime Division of the Punjab Police successfully dismantled two fake call centers operating in Mohali’s Sector 74. These centers were allegedly involved in duping numerous individuals in the United States through fraudulent calls. A total of 155 individuals working in these centers were arrested, and the masterminds behind the operation, based in Gujarat, are currently on the run.

Operation Details

Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav provided details on the operation, revealing that the fake call centers primarily targeted foreign nationals by making them purchase gift cards from major retailers such as Target, Apple, and Amazon. These gift cards were then collected by team managers and sent to the kingpins, who redeemed them for profit.

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Uncovering the Scam

The bust was the result of meticulous intelligence work spearheaded by Inspector Gaganpreet Singh and Inspector Daljit Singh, with technical assistance from the Digital Investigation Training and Analysis Centre (DITAC) lab. Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Cyber Crime V Neeraja, in a press conference, praised the efforts of the investigative team. “After pinpointing the locations, police teams, under the supervision of SP Cybercrime Jashandeep Singh and led by DSP Prabhjot Kaur, conducted the raids,” Neeraja stated.

Modus Operandi

The scammers employed various tactics to defraud their victims:

  • Payday Loan Fraud: Individuals with bad credit scores were offered seemingly attractive loan deals. However, to secure the loan, victims were pressured into purchasing gift cards from major retailers like Target, Apple, and Amazon. These gift cards were then redeemed by the scammers, leaving the victims with no loan and significant financial loss.

  • Amazon Impersonation Scam: Posing as representatives from Amazon, callers would threaten victims with legal repercussions, claiming suspicious activity on their accounts or illegal items found in their orders. To avoid these fabricated consequences, victims were instructed to send money through cash apps or purchase Amazon gift cards to “resolve” the issue. A separate caller, pretending to be a bank representative, would then guide the victim through payment methods, often involving additional gift card purchases. The gift card details were then shared with the scammers’ US accomplices, who would redeem them immediately. The money was then transferred back to India via illegal hawala channels.

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  • Microsoft Tech Support Scam: Victims received fake pop-up notifications on their computers, seemingly originating from Microsoft. These alerts warned of compromised systems and provided a contact number for immediate assistance. Upon calling the number, victims were duped into downloading remote access software, allowing the scammers to steal sensitive information and potentially transfer funds. The stolen money would then be funneled to the kingpins in India through hawala networks.

The fake call centers obtained customer information through brokers and used software to mine data for potential targets.

Seized Materials and Arrests

The police seized 79 desktop computers, 204 laptops, mobile phones, and various accessories during the raids. Training scripts for talking to customers were also found. Out of the 155 arrested individuals, 18 have been placed in police remand, while the others are on judicial remand.

ADGP Neeraja indicated that further investigations are ongoing to determine the full extent of the fraud and to make additional arrests. An FIR has been registered under multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology (IT) Act at the State Cyber Crime Cell Police Station.

The successful operation by the Punjab Police underscores their commitment to tackling cybercrime and protecting individuals from fraudulent schemes. This crackdown is expected to significantly disrupt the activities of cybercriminals operating fake call centers in the region.


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