61 Indian Call Centre Fraudsters, Companies Charged By US Government

call-centre-fraudsters

header-1RCMP Say Since The Crackdown In India Of Telephone Fraudsters, Scams Targeting Canadians Have Dropped Significantly!

cra-tax-scam-fraudsters-caught-in-india3The defendants allegedly called vulnerable people in the US impersonating officials of the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) — the US income tax department — or US Citizenship and Immigration Services. They threatened their victims with “with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government”. Some people would pay even if they didn’t owe anything because they simply didn’t want trouble. Similar frauds occurred in Canada where the fraudsters used similar threatening tactics to rob people of millions of dollars.

cra-tax-scam-fraudsters-caught-in-india2WASHINGTON – The United States on Thursday announced it had charged 61 individuals and entities connected to India-based call centres for allegedly defrauding thousands of people in America of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The US department of justice said in a statement it had arrested 20 individuals in the US and charged 32 people and five call centres in Ahmedabad. And a US-based defendant was in the custody of immigration authorities.

The defendants allegedly called vulnerable people in the US impersonating officials of the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) — the US income tax department — or US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Brand-D-LogoThey threatened their victims with “with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government”. Some people would pay even if they didn’t owe anything because they simply didn’t want trouble, reported Hindustan Times.

Similar frauds occurred in Canada where the fraudsters used similar threatening tactics to rob people of millions of dollars.

CBC News reported last weekend that 70 arrests had been made in India this month, which led to a significant drop in the number of telephone scams targeting Canadians, where fraudsters from India were pretending to be members of the Canada Revenue Agency looking for a bogus tax payment.

The RCMP said the arrests of 70 people at call centres in India employing more than 700 people were first thought to be solely tied to an IRS version of the scam, but the police force says calls to Canadians since the arrests have fallen to "a small fraction of what was reported for the weeks and months leading up to these arrests."

As soon as the victim paid, the money was turned into prepaid debit cards or sent to India through wire transfer. The justice department also found evidence defendants used the “hawala” network of illegal money transfer also used by terrorists.

thefusionposter8This is not the first time India based individuals and entities have been found involved in this kind of racket. But this could be the largest such racket unearthed, involving the indictment of 61 individuals and entities.

The justice department said this network was busted in a three-year-long investigation. The indictment was returned by a grand jury in a Texas court on October 19, following which arrests were made.

In one instance, an 85-year-old woman of California was conned into paying $12,300 by one of the call centres for some “fictitious tax violations”. Another California resident was defrauded of $136,000, by callers impersonating IRS officials.

The defendants also used a variation of the Nigerian fraud. Victims were told they had qualified for a grant or a loan but will have to pay a small fee to process the transfer. For loans, they were asked to pay a “good-faith” advance payment.

In targeting Canadians, typically, the caller demands immediate payment, most often via email transfer, wire transfer, gift card or pre-paid credit card.

RCMP warned that despite the drop-off in attempts of late, the scam is likely far from over.

It's a lucrative business for the fraudsters. Since January 2014, based on statistics from Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre more than 1,900 Canadians have fallen victim to it and handed over more than $5.7 million. But more than 37,000 calls to Canadians have been made asking for money over that time period. "Based on CAFC analysis, the aforementioned numbers represent only five per cent of the actual losses," the RCMP said.

 

 

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