Most people at some point have received offers of a loan, a warning that bank cards will be blocked, and even an X-rated video starring the people who received the message. While some are lucky – they hang up and forget about “that annoying call” – others are not. They lose hard-earned money and in extreme, very unfortunate cases – their lives too.
NDTV’s 25-minute documentary “Inside The OTP Mafia: Nuh To New York” exposes this dark underbelly of OTP scams, blackmailing and sextortion with never-before-seen footage of a live raid by the Haryana Police, a tell-all chat with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) top expert and a bombshell interview with two, top-of-the-line scammers.
A live sextortion call for our cameras also lays bare India’s most dangerous minds.
The thugs running this cartel are not some savvy techies sitting behind big, fancy screens in a city. These men and women are school dropouts operating from the comfort of their charpoys (yes, they work from home) in the fields of Jamtara, Nuh, Mathura, Bharatpur to name a few.
Boundaries are blurred as men from Noida call New Yorkers thousands of miles away. Stats reveal 45,000 Americans fell prey to these callers last year. Their arsenal: the most basic mobile phone handsets, hundreds of SIM cards, and bank accounts of innocent villagers.
“We got 140 cases a day in the US. We rely heavily with local law enforcement on combating this transnational… Some Indians in villages learn to speak like Americans from YouTube and other social media,” the top FBI official told NDTV.
“Some of the cases include the loss of a few hundred dollars to a few thousands. It destroys entire savings and lives,” the official said.
A woman in the US who was conned by an OTP mafia told NDTV she got a call from a ‘government agency’ claiming she needs to pay up for dealing in narcotics. Despite her denial, the calls kept coming and threatened her the officials would raid her. They told her she needs to pay first and then meet them.
“I lost thousands of dollars, about 75 per cent of my life’s saving that I was planning to use after I retire. My son is 17 and is about to go to college. I have a differently abled daughter too,” the woman told NDTV.
Thousands of SIM cards are used in the OTP scams. The Delhi Police had seized 22,000 SIM cards from one such OTP mafia in April this year.
Many of the senior citizens in the US do not expect such kinds of scams would happen in their country. They are very unsuspecting of it.
A few men who were involved in the scam, arrested and later released on bail, told NDTV that they spend their loot on entertainment and upgrading their lifestyle. “We have fun with the money,” one of the men said.