Who doesn't love to hear the story of a good con? Especially when it goes terribly wrong. This is the very stuff movie producers thrive on! Things seemed to be going so well for Sagar ‘Shaggy' Thakkar, who ended up netting a total of Rs. 500 crores using his shrewd schemes and manipulation. The above mentioned scam was conducted in and through a Mira Road call centre, which was recently busted, sending the conman extraordinaire into hiding, with a well deserved encore.Wondering what he did to make all that money at such a young age? The scamsters that were busted when Mumbai police raided the call centre, revealed that they were using well known people-search websites (aka social media networks), which provided the target's name, address, and a unique ability to tailor their approach, based on the digital profile of the individual.After acquiring a list of these targets, and going through a rigorous exercise in accent training, they would call blast several individuals in the United States simultaneously and threaten them with false payment notices. "Some of the victims got frightened with this and called back. When the call was returned, the call centre executives, through the phone number of the caller, surfed through the websites (containing information about peoples' name, address and other details) in real time, to grasp the paying ability of the person at the other end,” a police official told reporters.It was revealed through a course of this investigation, that the scam's alleged mastermind, Shaggy (as mentioned above), used VIP calls from Ahmedabad using Direct Inward Dialling (DID) technology. Using DID, they could call at least 10 US citizens at the same time."Thakkar would then call his vendors in the US and ask them to deposit the gift cards worth thousands of USDs. He would then allegedly receive the money through ‘hawala' in Mumbai and Ahmedabad,” the official said."With this scam, Thakkar allegedly collected hundreds of crores of rupees,” he said. "Police had raided the Universal Outsourcing Services, on Mira Road, among six other call centres during the midnight of October 4-5 and acquired data that showed thousands of US citizens who were cheated. From June 1 to October 4 this year, Thakkar allegedly collected USD 18 lakh from just one call centre,” the police official told reporters.Meanwhile, the investigators, yesterday, told a court in Thane that they have identified transactions worth Rs 25-30 crore in the call centre scam so far, and that it will take a long time for them to arrive at the actual figure, given the magnitude of the scandal. The 71 accused criminals in this scam will continue to be questioned with at least a dozen such call centres already being discovered.
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