CASE STUDY OF BPO DATA THEFT CASE

This post was written by Neeraj Aarora on May 18, 2009
Posted Under: Data Theft

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  • EX-EMPLOYEES INVOLVED IN DATA THEFT FROM CALL CENTRES ARRESTED !
  • ROUTED PROPRIETARY COMPANY DATA THROUGH THEIR OWN PARALLEL COMPANY !
  • CAUSED LOSSES TO COMPANY OF OVER Rs 3.3 CRORES !

The Police in its effort to crackdown on clandestine theft of data and other information from call centres, has apprehended four ex-employees, involved in such activities.

The brief facts of the case are that a complaint was received from M/s Pintach Technologies Ltd. (PTL), i against Mr. Binoy, M/s Telequick and some other employees of their organization, for fraud & cheating, through theft and clandestine sale of their proprietary data. M/s PTL had a subsidiary company in United States of America under the name and style of M/s Pintach Technologies Inc. (PTI) which did business with Mortgage Originators in USA. Mortgage Originators provided loans to US residents for residential premises. The prospective loan seekers were called leads.

The business of Pintach involved providing leads to Mortgage Originators. The said company bought calling data related to leads from Data Vendors in USA. The data included the particulars of the loan seekers and their telephone numbers. M/s PTI generated leads through arrangements with Call Centres in India to call from the data and shortlist home owners who were interested in availing refinance facility on their existing mortgage loans (leads). M/s PTL coordinated between M/s PTI and the call centres to give effect to the above process through its program management services.

M/s PTI sent the data to M/s PTL in India who in turn provided this data to various call centres. In the year 2004, M/s PTI realized that there was a sudden drop in the productivity of the call centres and therefore the production of leads although the inputs at the end of the company meant to be given to various call centres by the employees of the company had remained same as before and increased as well to some call centres. The concerned officials of the company got alarmed and made an in house enquiry. On a careful and a meticulous scrutiny it was revealed that accused Binoy one of the employee of M/s PTL in connivance with some other officers of their organization, had been deceiving and causing wrongful loss to the company and wrongful gain for themselves, by selling the data purchased by M/s PTI in USA through a parallel company M/s Telequicks. On the said complaint a case FIR No.: XXX u/s 420/408 IPC r/w 66 IT Act, was registered and investigation taken up by the Police.

The process of data receipt and delivery, follows a complicated route before the leads are delivered to the prospective buyers. The data purchased in USA by M/s PTI is emailed to M/s PTL, India in batches called buckets, usually comprising of lacs of records. It is then scrubbed with ˜Do Not Call lists and sent to designated call centres for making telephone calls to various persons in USA. The willing clients called hot leads are short-listed by the call centres and sent back to M/s PTL as prospective clients. The list of hot leads is then emailed to USA for selling to the end buyers who may be Banks, Insurance Companies etc.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Mr. Binoy was working with M/s PTL since November, 2001. He was holding the post of Senior Program Manager and was the team leader for data management. While still employed at M/s PTL, Binoy along with his father P.K. Saha in January 2004, opened a partnership firm in the name and style of M/s Telequick. Binoy thereafter, brought a rediff pro email id in the name of telequick.come from Rediff.com. Using this id he started passing on the data bought by and belonging to M/s PTI to various call centres as if the same belonged to M/s Telequick, to make the calls on their behalf for the generation of leads.

The accused, Binoy had roped in two of his colleagues namely Abdul and Sanjeev who actively assisted him in his clandestine activities. Abdul, while still an employee of the complainant company, co-ordinated with various call centres on behalf of M/s Telequicks. Sanjeev on the other hand had facilitated the installation of proprietary sequencing software in the personal computer of Binoy. In order to have a clientele base in USA, Binoy had sought the assistance of one Rajesh Srivastava an employee of PTI, based in USA. The hot leads obtained from various call centres, by Telequicks, were sold in USA to clients introduce by Rajesh. Rajesh also followed up on the payments due to Telequicks in USA.

During investigations all the call centres who had been paid by Telequicks were contacted to obtain emails and the raw data sent to them as attachments. Such data was obtained from one of the call centre namely, M/s Savron, Gurgaon and compared with the data purchased by the complainant company during the period June-September 2004. As the data to be analysed was voluminous, SQL queries were formulated and the data was imported from worksheets to SQL tables. On running the queries it was revealed that some of the data buckets purchased by the complainant company matched completely with the data sent by M/s Telequick to M/s Savron. Further, a scrutiny of the emails indicated that the emails with data attachments sent by M/s Telequick had originated from the exclusive IP address allotted to M/s Pintach (PTL), the complainant company, by VSNL.

Accused Binoy, Rajesh, Abdul and Sanjeev have been arrested by a team of Police from Gurgaon and Faridabad. Binoy is BTech (Textiles) and an MBA from IIT Delhi. Co-accused Rajesh Srivastava is a BE (Electronics) from Regional Engg. College, MP. Abdul is BSc (Hons) and an MBA Marketing from AMU, Aligarh. Sanjeev Sharma, is a post graduate in computer application from GNIIT and a B Com graduate. All the four accused persons were working together in M/s Pintach Technologies at one point of time were they hatched this idea to use the data of M/s Pintach for their own benefit.

Binoy and Rajesh had since left M/s PTL and are running a company by the name of M/s Protech from Gurgaon. Both the accused claim themselves to be representatives of M/s LeadPointer, USA, apparently a sister concern of M/s MortagagePointer, USA to whom the leads generated through the stolen data were originally sold.

The hot leads generated are highly priced. Due to diversion of the data the productivity (ratio of total working hours to total leads generated) of operations of the complainant company fell from 0.31 to 0.21 a fall of 33 % over a four month period. As a result the company faced a loss of about 14,000 odd leads. Priced at about Rs 2400, the parallel operations planned and run by the accused persons led to over Rs 3.3 crore loss to the complainant company.

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Reader Comments

What are the agreements / clauses in employee agreements that can be added for employees who have access to sensitive data of the organisation as a preventive measure?

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