[ISN] Indian call center workers charged with Citibank fraud

From: InfoSec News (isn@private)
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 22:55:43 PDT


By John Ribeiro
APRIL 07, 2005 

BANGALORE, India -- Former employees of a call center in Pune, India,
were arrested this week on charges of defrauding four Citibank account
holders in New York, to the tune of $300,000, a police official said.

The three former employees of Mphasis BPO, the business process
outsourcing operation of Bangalore software and services company
Mphasis BFL Group, are charged with collecting and misusing account
information from customers they dealt with as part of their work at
the call center, according to Sanjay Jadhav, chief of the cybercrime
cell of the Pune police.

"Either in goodwill or on false pretenses, they also obtained the
[personal identification numbers] from these account holders in the
course of their work," Jadhav said. The three former employees and
their accomplices then used the services of SWIFT (Society for
Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) to transfer funds
from these accounts to their own accounts and fake accounts that were
created for this purpose in Pune, he added.

Mphasis officials declined to comment on the matter. The Pune
operation of the company runs a call center for New York-based
Citibank N.A., a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc.

The police acted on a complaint from Citibank, which was alerted when
account holders noticed suspicious transactions in their accounts,
Jadhav said. Citibank officials weren't immediately available for

Police arrested 12 people, three of whom were employees of Mphasis BPO
in Pune until December last year. When they quit their jobs, the three
employees carried with them the details of the four accounts and used
a number of subterfuges, including false e-mail accounts and account
details to transfer funds into accounts in Pune, Jadhav said. "We
caught one of them on Monday when he came to a bank in Pune to inquire
about one of the accounts," Jadhav said. "After that, we were able to
arrest the others."

The outsourcing of call center and other business processes from the
U.S. and the U.K. to Indian companies has been criticized by many
organizations, including U.S and U.K. workers' unions, which complain
that members are losing jobs as a result of offshore outsourcing. One
of the key issues that has been raised is the danger of data theft and

The threat of data theft and misuse is no higher in India than in
other countries, including the U.S., according to the National
Association of Software and Service Companies in Delhi. The
organization maintains that Indian outsourcing companies have adequate
security systems in place.

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