Police in West Bengal, on Wednesday, raided one of the four "scam" call centres that YouTuber Mark Rober mentioned in his 26-minute viral video.
The cyber crime division of Bidhannagar Police targeted New Town-based MET Technologies, shut it down, and arrested 15 "scammers" for "duping US, UK and Australian residents." MET Technologies has been operating since 2010 and claims to have over a thousand employees.
"While the investigation is under process, their gadgets, bank passbooks and other documents (have) been seized," the police said, calling the operation an "international fake call centre racket." The police is now reportedly searching for the chairperson.
The callers allegedly targeted elderly folk abroad, pretending to be employees of popular software and mobile app companies, a police officer told The Telegraph. They would get victims to install spyware on their computers, which would reveal banking details, he added.
The 15 arrested were produced before a Salt Lake court, which sent five of them to police custody and 10 to judicial custody for 10 days, according to the publication.
Glitter Bombs & Cockroaches: Rober Pranks Call Centres
Rober, in his video, teamed up with fellow YouTuber Jim Browning and Trilogy Media to set off stink bombs, glitter bombs, cockroaches, rats, and smoke bombs in the offices of these call centres.
He claimed that the actions of his team caused several call centres in India to shut down, at least temporarily. He also said that he contacted Kolkata Police but no action was taken initially.
After the video went viral, Rober now says he has had some "encouraging discussions with the Kolkata Police." "This is their moment though. The world is watching," he added.
According to Rober, the scammers, members of a 50,000 strong pan-India WhatsApp group, caught wind of Trilogy Media's arrival in Kolkata and went on high alert.
Through CCTV footage, he and his team also found out that these call centres allegedly make around $65,000 a day, amounting to an estimated $20 million a year in revenue.
(With inputs from The Times of India and The Telegraph.)