Indian police have arrested more than 50 people in Delhi on suspicion of being involved in an international call centre scam.
The group is accused of defrauding more than 4,500 people in the United States and other countries.
The suspects allegedly took more than $14 million (£10 million) in total.
They allegedly told their victims that they faced legal action because their details were being used to pay international drug cartels.
Victims paid up to avoid legal action as the team claimed to be law enforcement officers.
“They would inform the targeted persons that their bank accounts and other assets are being frozen as their details have been found at a crime scene,” Anyesh Roy, Delhi’s deputy commissioner of police, told the Hindustan Times.
“Some of the targets were also told that there were bank accounts being used in their names through which illegal transactions have been made to drug cartels in Mexico and Colombia.”
The 54 suspects then allegedly threatened their victims that they faced arrest and legal action if they did not pay up, he added.
“They were told that the only way to safeguard their assets is to buy bitcoins or gift cards and transfer the same to e-wallets in India. The bitcoins and gift cards once received were cashed here in India,” the officer said.
The suspected manager of the scam was running it from Dubai, police said.
Delhi Police’s cyber-crime unit says it has broken up more than 25 fake call centres so far this year.