The Indian police has arrested 70 individuals and questioned hundreds in connection with a large fraud ring which has cheated a substantial number of Americans out of millions of US dollars. This criminal activity was spread over a period of one year. The list of charges brought against the accused includes extortion, information technology crimes and impersonation.
How it was done
According to Param Bir Singh, the Thane Police Commissioner, the said call center employees dialed thousands of calls and sent a similar number of messages every day. They impersonated American tax collectors. The callers even threatened to involve US authorities if there was no prompt payment. In an extreme case, one victim shelled out $60,000 to escape a fictional raid to be conducted at his house. Indian police said that a huge amount of money was stolen and the present investigation can simply be tip of iceberg. It is estimated that such fraudulent call centers together netted about $150,000 every day by scamming Americans who were afraid of taxmen raiding their homes. The least amount of money demanded by the call centers were $500 and could rise up to several thousand dollars.
According to Indian media, the possibility of a breakthrough may have happened after an employee of the call center alerted local authorities to such scams. A number of office buildings were raided by police in Mumbai. A large number of hard disks and servers were seized along with other pieces of equipment. Singh said that the US authorities have contacted the Indian police and the latter are cooperating with US to bring then down.
Such intimidation was made possible by spoofing the Internal Revenue Service toll number. When a victim receives the call, the caller identification will show it is from the IRS. A few victims were reportedly instructed to purchase particular gift cards- permitting them to transfer all funds via the card identification numbers and not through direct payments. Singh told the media that new arrests may be done.
Indian investigators believe that a percentage of the earnings from the scam- thought to be 30 percent- was channeled to American co-conspirators. According to John Koskinen, the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, taxpayers all over the United States face a number of phone related scams of this nature. In his statement, he said that an estimated 5,000 individuals have been duped out of about $26.5 million from October 2013.