On sale: Your personal data is worth 50 paise or less

Mahender Singh Manral
The two women were arrested from Vikaspuri

Investigation into two women arrested for allegedly duping more than 350 people on the pretext of providing health insurance at a low premium has revealed they were procuring database of customers from employees of call centres after paying 5 paise to 50 paise per contact.

Last week, two women identified as Suman Lata (34) and Jyoti (33) were arrested from West Delhi s Vikaspuri after a fake call centre was busted by the cyber cell. After failing to get a good appraisal at her previous job, Suman, the alleged kingpin, decided to create fake websites selling healthcare services and cheat people by offering insurance at a low premium. She earlier worked with a call centre related to healthcare services, which is where she met Jyoti, DCP (South West) Devender Arya said.

During questioning, Suman told police she approached employees of several call centres and procured data from them in exchange for money. They stole data from their call centre records and sold it to her. She paid them depending on the profile and details of each contact, such as property assets, vehicle, family profile and whether a family member was undergoing treatment in a hospital. If they got details of someone with a high income whose relative was hospitalised, she would pay 50 paise. For a middle class contact, the price was 30 paise, a senior officer probing the case said, adding that the most basic details like a contact number would go for 5 paise.

Sources said she would meet the call centre employees at a public place, where they would hand her the database of customers in a pen drive. She would make an online payment after verifying the details. Police are now scanning bank transaction details to identify the employees.

During questioning, she told police she approached a website developer who had made several websites for call centres, and a telecaller fluent in English and Hindi. She first started a website by the name http://www.rakshahealthcare.com, followed by http://www.paramountmax.com and http://www.apollohealths.com, Arya said.

The Indian Express checked one of the websites, which was found to be active hours after the arrests, and found that it displayed services for various kinds of health insurance packages.

The website appeared authentic and the packages promised full cover for medical expenses, diagnostic tests and medicines, operation theatre charges and the cost of prosthetics as well as other devices or equipment, along with ICU charges. The accused frequently changed the websites, office address and SIM cards to evade arrest, an officer said.

The arrests were made after police received a complaint from one Shibu Chakraborty, who alleged that he got a call from a woman who offered him a policy for Rs 25,000.

Chakraborty s brother needed regular dialysis. They offered him a plan which covered the entire expense. Chakraborty paid Rs 25,000 through their website and was told three OPD bills would be reimbursed in a week. When that didn t happen and he called them, their phones were off, Arya said.