Shagar Thakkar, alias Shaggy, duped gullible American citizens of about Rs 500 crore in a year. He was running three call centres. The 23-year-old had a penchant for fast cars and the US dollars, for which he could have gone to any extent. Shaggy used to pocket around Rs 1 to Rs 1.5 crore daily by posing as the US tax officials. ET reports police as saying that in one of the cases, victims paid about $60,000 to escape a raid on their house by the tax officials.
Details have now emerged as to how he ran his entire operations with aplomb in Thane, Mumbai till it was exposed to the world by a disgruntled employee.
Here is how Shaggy, who is now on the run, almost pulled off a Special 26 on the American:
How the call centres at Mira Road in Thane operated?
The telecallers were trained as Mira Road call centres. They used to make calls to US residents through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The telecallers used to introduce themselves as Internal Revenue Service staff and threaten the victims of IRS raids and arrest as they had defaulted on tax payment.
To avoid the raid and arrest, victims used to opt for settlement with the callers. Police say the victims were initially asked for anything in the range of $10,000 to $ 20,000 which was finally settled for anything between $5,000 to $ 3,000.
How the victims made payments?
The callers used to tell victims to share 16-digit code of debit cards. The callers helped in debiting the decided amount.
How the numbers of prospective victims were procured?
According to police, Shaggy was helped by some of the US-based accused. The latter used to get numbers from hackers and forward them to the Thane-based call centre. The rate for about 10,000 contacts was around Rs 1,00,000.
How employees of the call centre were selected?
The kingpins of this racket used the social media to invite candidates without any qualification for call centre work. Those who showed potential were asked to undergo rigorous training for US accent.
The employees were trained to perfect the US accent.
Subsequently, a six-page script was handed to them for mock calls. After perfecting the script, the candidates were inducted as employees. But a small group of employees got selected for closing the calls; they were trained to issue threats and extort money from the US citizens.
How the call centre used to pay the staff?
The call centre employees were strictly paid in cash. The employees used to make anything between Rs 40,000 – Rs 1 lakh per month, according to reports. The employees earned hefty incentives.
About 70% money collected by US gang members were transferred via Hawala channels. The US members use to keep 30% of the duped amount.