Twelve held for duping persons seeking loans online

The Anti-Bank Fraud wing of the Central Crime Branch on Tuesday busted a gang of 12 persons, who were running a call centre in Sithalapakkam and had cheated several persons who sought loans online.

The main suspect, Manikandan, hired a few youngsters on the pretext of offering call centre jobs and swindled money from the bank accounts of those who sought loans after obtaining key financial details.

Calls traced

A senior police officer said, “Following a series of online complaints, we analysed all of them and found that the culprits were operating in the same area. Using call records of their mobile numbers, we zeroed in on them in Sithalapakkam, since all the calls originated from there. They were rounded up.” Manikandan, 26, a native of Alampoondi, Tiruvannamalai district, and 11 others, including five women and six men, working for him, were arrested and remanded to judicial custody.

Random calls

They engaged telecallers to connect with gullible customers. Using phone numbers procured from an online telephone search portal, the telecallers made random calls offering loans to individuals at a low rate of interest. If the prospective customer evinced interest, the telecallers would transfer the calls to persons who were supervising them.

“Then they would be asked to furnish details and documents through a WhatsApp message. Under the pretext of collecting details for processing loans, they would make the customer furnish all details, including the one-time password, bank account details and card details over phone.”

“Using the details, the suspects operated the bank account of the customers and swindled money ranging between ₹50,000 and ₹2 lakh. They transferred the money into fictitious accounts and later used it to play games online with the intention to prevent tracing of the money trail and identity of persons operating the amounts,” said an investigator.

A few months ago, the CCB wing busted a gang led by Gopi Krishnan, who swindled the money of several people by running call centres in Chennai and engaged telecallers to connect with customers. As many 19 suspects were arrested.

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