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    Delhi: 19 arrested for cheating American citizens by posing as US officials

    New Delhi: The Delhi Police has arrested 19 people, including seven women, from south Delhi for allegedly impersonating US officials from the Department of the Treasury and cheating American citizens on the pretext of providing free grants, officials said on Wednesday.

    The accused persons were operating through an illegal call centre in south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar area, they said.

    Police got information through an e-mail regarding the call centre, following which they conducted a raid and nabbed the accused persons, a senior police officer said.

    The call centre was running since January this year in a rented basement. Twenty-two computers were installed in the premises, out of which 15 were being used by the callers, police said.

    Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) Atul Kumar Thakur said, “Sixteen people were found engaged in calling customers based in the US by impersonating officials from the US Department of the Treasury, who provide free grants to selective citizens.”

    They were cheating these people by using Vicidial through cloud servers and talking to them on the pretext of providing free grants if they paid a fee of USD 100 and USD 200. They would then ask the victims to provide the amount through gift cards or any other wallet, the DCP said.

    On checking the computer systems, Vicidial calling software along with scripts was found opened on their screens, police said.

    They were contacting the victims through the automated computer systems to dial the phone numbers one-by-one in a sequential order from the list of numbers uploaded in cloud-based server, Thakur said.

    Two mobile phones were being used for the call centre. On examination of the alleged persons, it was revealed that they were procuring gift cards given by victims illegally and cheating US citizens, police said.

    On an average, three US citizens were being cheated everyday of around Rs 50,000 to Rs 75,000. Further investigation is underway, police said, adding that 22 computers, 21 mobile phones, among other things, were recovered from their possession.

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