The US has cracked down on a California-based company that bilked $5 million using call centres in India by making fake, often threatening, debt collector calls to over 10,000 customers in the country.
This is first of its kind case that has come to light in the US wherein call centres in India have been used to make fake debt collection calls to the US.
In a complaint, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said consumers received over 20 million of collection calls from India, and that since January 2010 the operation took in more than USD five million from victims, with collectors demanding between USD 300 and USD 2,000 per call.
"This is a brazen operation based on pure fraud, and the FTC is committed to shutting it down," said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC?s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC alleges that information submitted by consumers who applied online for these loans found its way into the hands of the defendants.
The FTC filed suit against American Credit Crunchers, related company Ebeeze LLC and their owner Varang Thaker.
According to the FTC's complaint, Thaker obtained information - often including Social Security or bank account numbers - about consumers who had inquired about, applied for, or obtained online payday loans.
Thaker worked with telephone callers in India who called consumers using deceptive statements and threats to convince them to pay debts that were not owed or that he was not authorized to collect, the FTC alleged.
He also profited handsomely from this scheme, according to documents filed with the court. Thaker has withdrawn tens of thousands of dollars from the American Credit Crunchers and Ebeeze bank accounts, the FTC alleged.