Indian-Canadian Man arrested for Multinational Phone Scam

A 25-year-old Indian-Canadian man has been arrested in connection with a multinational phone scam targeting Canadians.

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"To date, 10 individuals have been charged"

Indian-Canadian man Abhinav Bector, aged 25, has been arrested and charged in connection with an Indian call centre scam targeting Canadians.

Bector has been charged with fraud of over $5,000 (£2,800), possession of proceeds of crime and laundering of the proceeds of crime.

The accused, a resident of Brampton, Toronto, was allegedly involved in a series of multinational telephone scams against Canadians.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced Bector’s arrest during a press conference on December 23, 2020.

RCMP stated that Bector had been recruited by overseas fraudsters to process and launder locally-received money.

The police announced that to address the victimisation of Canadians, the RCMP initiated an investigation named Project Octavia in October 2018.

The focus of the investigation was to combat the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) telephone tax schemes as well as other related frauds through public awareness, disruption, and enforcement.

The Canadian police claimed that the India call centre scams have cost Canadians over $34 million (£19 million) since 2014.

The telephone scams have persisted despite the raids on illegal call centres in India and making arrests in Canada.

Bector is the latest suspect to be arrested in these scams.

The police stated: “To date, 10 individuals have been charged with respect to this investigation.”

“These telephone fraudsters, operating from overseas, have been targeting the Canadian public since 2014.

“Despite several police raids on illegal call centres in India and arrests in Canada, these scammers continue to modify their deceitful pitch and target Canadians.”

In October 2020, Naman Grover, of the city of Mississauga, had also been arrested for being involved in the scam.

Arrest warrants have also been issued against three other absconders Bindisha Joshi, aged 41, Vimal Shrestha, aged 41 and Thomas Pao, aged 25.

According to police, call centre scammers target Canadians by posing as representatives of the CRA, banks, immigration and tech support agencies.

They scare people into paying money or parting with their credit card information immediately or face action.

The scammers have also recruited local individuals as ‘money mules’ to receive money from their victims and then launder it to them.

These include Indian students coming to study in Canada on study visas.

Bector was convicted for being a ‘money mule’ for the scammers.

Staff Sergeant Ken Derakhshan, Project Octavia’s Team Commander, said:

“Fraud and money laundering cause devastating financial and psychological consequences to their victims.

“The RCMP is steadfast in its pursuit of those who prey on unsuspecting and sometimes vulnerable individuals, and attempt to undermine Canada’s economic growth and integrity.”

Akanksha is a media graduate, currently pursuing a postgraduate in Journalism. Her passions include current affairs and trends, TV and films, as well as travelling. Her life motto is 'Better an oops than a what if'.