(information recorded and submitted from anonymous sources.)
No, certainly not Sector V is a jewel in the Crown of West Bengal IT sector and continues to be like that. But some evil scram is trying to destroy the image of the area and state. Some investigative finding will reveal the truth as a case study. Names of the companies and other sources withheld for security reasons.
Imagine this scene in your head, you’re a fresh out of high school, barely graduated and looking to kill your time before college with a summer job. You either need the extra income for yourself or are looking to build a solid profile for your future ambitions with a job experience. Either ways, you are the perfect scapegoat for fraud and scam companies.
In recent years, the well-established IT hub of Kolkata, Sector V of the Salt Lake City has become a large scale scam corporation. Around 2019, The Bidhannagar Police had seized fifteen such buildings in the area that were openly running call centres meant to scam people.
An automated scam call which impersonates an executive from Amazon Prime has been circulating among people, especially international clients such as those in the United Kingdom. The target audience for such scam calls are usually people in the demographic of 70 years old and above, especially those who are technologically handicapped.
The automated scam contains a message that conveys to the victim that they’re Prime ‘subscription’ will be ‘renewed’ for 79.99 pounds (sometimes 39.99 pounds), this roughly comes around to 8500 INR, when converted.
It is an automated scam call designed to trick customers. The approach to this scam call is similar to the “Visa Fraud Department” calls that ask you to press 1 as an automated response.
From here on, it is highly probable for Scammers to exhort bank account details from the customer or their personal information.
Scam Calls and Sector Five: Beware of your job
So how does Sector V of Kolkata and young high school graduates play a role in these high-level international scams? Well to start, many high rise office buildings in Sector V cater to these scam operations. It is highly probable that you won’t catch these scam companies from the get go since their appearance would make you believe that they’re just a normal tech start-up like many others in the area.
Young people who are still in their teens (mostly 17-19-year-olds) fall in the trap of these companies as they lure them in with the promise of a high salary and amenities, plus the flashy appearance of a 9-5 desk job in the heart of the IT industry feeds to the starving taste of adulthood to these teenagers. These companies give out extravagant descriptions of their job using keywords such as “international client” and “amazing incentives” and these serve further as catalysts.
So how do you see the red flags to such fraud jobs and save yourself from becoming a part of a large illegal trade?
It is the first thing to note that, if you fall under the age of 18, you will not be eligible or accepted by any legitimate company to work under. This happens because of the Child Labour policies in India, thus making you an obstruction and hindrance to business activities, since hiring you would be an illegal process. If any company promises you a job when you’re under the legal age, rest be assured that it is likely a scamming company.
The second thing to look out for is an offer letter. Now, let’s assume you are over 18, which means you can start as a fresher for jobs. Please demand for an offer letter once you pass your interview rounds. Legitimate companies will always provide you with offer letters/appointment letters. A company who refuses to do so, or tells you, you’d get an official letter after a period of working over there, it is a hoax.
The interview round also serves as an intermediary on whether a job is legitimate or there is something fishy going on about it. An interview for a job usually happens over several rounds with one-on-one conversation with different ranking officials of the company, including the HR. The conduct and behaviour of an HR, if ever seems off to you, trust your gut and don’t turn back towards the company.
If you have gone through all the above said procedures and are about to join such a job, still unaware that you are about to be trained to scam people, here is how the scenario would look for you. When you enter such an office, it would look like any other BPO/Telecommunication jobs, but the scenario is far away from normal. The first thing they’d do is ask you to submit your cellphones, this further endangers you, especially if you’re a teenager, since you are now literally out of any possible ways to communicate for help outside.
How to get out of a Fraud Job
In the name of training, they’ll hand you over a piece of sheet, which sounds like a normal guide to Amazon Customer Service, but if you work it out smoothly, you’ll soon catch on that what this job is asking you to do is scam people in the name of help, you will not be allowed to take this piece of page outside the office or click any pictures of it. In fact, you may not move outside the office once your shift starts, locking you out completely from the outside world for almost 9 hours, including the lunch breaks.
You will also be asked to use a fake alias or a foreign name, you’re to never real your real name when dealing with customers.
Even if you have already gone to your first day of work, run south, don’t go back to the job, inform the higher up present you can’t continue with the job because of some made up excuse. In most cases, these people won’t force you to come back since they also have a fear in them of getting caught.
These scam companies have been running for over 3 years in existence, even after a heavy raid and seizure in 2019. Bringing us to the real question of how do these companies keep running so publicly with no one being aware, or any form of action being taken. How do they afford to run companies in such extravagant buildings, does that imply there are further higher ups and positions of authority who are funding these scams?
In a notably developed area, such as Sector V of Kolkata, how are these companies practising their illegal activities safely and with no worries? How deep-rooted is the scam market of Sector V, and how further will it run its course?
Until there is a resolution to this dangerous trade ongoing, please be aware if you’re a teenager and don’t fall for such fraudulent jobs. Search for legitimate opportunities, or use your time to learn summer courses.
If you are a user who has had received such calls, please be aware of cyber crimes such as these and your consumer rights. Do not disclose your bank details or personal information to anyone on such calls, or on the internet.