Departments brush off responsibility
The recent raid in a Delhi based call centre by the police authorities has elicited focus on some illegal call centres operating in Dehradun and other parts of Uttarakhand. However, the departments concerned seem to be waiting for someone to raise the alarm or file a formal complaint. The inspection and technological advancement of the monitoring authorities appears more on papers and less in action. Even in the wake of such complaints the departments concerned also seem unaffected and non-committal towards the enforcement of given guidelines, but are consistently trying to shift the blame or brush off their responsibilities.
A former employee at one of the illegal call centres in Dehradun told The Pioneer on the condition of anonymity that most the people working in such call centres are in the late teens or 20s. These young people usually are more interested in earning quick money and care less about the medium being legal or illegal. He further said that even after knowing that what they were doing is illegal, as the company used to constantly shift their office and switch off the lights and pretend no one is inside on hearing police sirens, they continued to stay there and work for about eight to 10 hours daily, five days a week.
About the programme they used to use he said, “The main catch is the programme. Why? Because earlier tech support programmes were more popular, but now as most of the foreign consumers are aware about getting fake calls, the programme is becoming increasingly difficult for earning money by duping people. The programme we were asked to handle was scamming the citizens of United States of America (USA) by virtually impersonating an officer from social security administration of the USA. After that we used to cook up stories about some car found with drugs and blood, which is registered with the customer’s social security number. Then we used to tell them that we are taking the case to FBI Headquarters as such cases cannot be taken lightly. Once the case is in the court house, they will face a lot of trouble. If you have decent accent and fluent English, it is not hard to convince them. Especially the old people and ladies were the target. Then we used to ask them to help the treasury department for help in return and promise that we will be going after the real culprit. Once they are convinced they will easily pay at least $ 1,000.”
He added, “I have worked in a number of call centres, both in Dehradun and in Delhi. Tech support though is the biggest scam, but is also providing employment to thousands of people. These call centres are better than most of the private jobs. They pay salary on time, with bonuses. It is easier to get attracted towards such call centres even though they are illegal.”
The Director of Telecom Enforcement Resources and Monitoring Cell, Uttarakhand, Sumit Gupta said, “We conduct verification of all registered Other Service Providers (OSPs) including Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Knowledge Process Outsourcings (KPO) from time to time. We also take help from local police. In fact, we recently conducted a meeting with all Internet Service Providers (ISP) and Telecom Service Providers (TSP) and have given them brief about our guidelines. They have also been strictly directed to not provide their services to any un-registered OSP. If there is any such case, we will surely verify it on our end.”
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Special Task Force (STF), Ridhim Aggarwal said, “It is part of our routine to check and verify and discrepancy in cyber law. If there is any such case we will surely verify.”
According to an official, the resources such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has are more equipped in dealing with such cases. The Department of Telecom (DOT) basically focuses on paper work. The police department of course has several duties to perform. So, they wait for a concrete complaint before taking actions.
It is pertinent to mention here, earlier this year district police had conducted raids in three call centres at Doon Business Park and Sandhu Centre and five people were arrested in the case. The working of enforcement department that is police has always been under the scanner but the question arises whether the present technological status of Uttarakhand police is properly equipped to handle such international level cyber crimes.
Friday, 22 November 2019 | Ananya Gairola | Dehradun