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SCAM Alert- IRS Phone Scam Call Center Raids Dozens Arrested
Forbes Report Dozens Arrested In IRS Phone Scam Call Center Raids
Dozens of arrests have been made in the phone scams plaguing American taxpayers. Acting on a tip, 70 call center workers were arrested for their alleged roles in tax-related scams following a police raid on call centers outside of Mumbai, India. More than 750 call center workers were detained in what a police spokesperson characterized as an ongoing investigation.
For years now, scammers posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and officers have been making calls to taxpayers, demanding immediate payment and threatening jail or deportation for those who failed to comply. The scam has netted the millions and emboldened scammers to try new tactics, including making “robo-calls”, or automated calls leaving threatening messages.
Exasperated taxpayers have repeatedly demanded that IRS and law enforcement agencies take action against the scammers. Enforcement has been difficult because many of the calls are thought to have originated outside of the U.S. Calls were generally made using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology since it’s a cheap and easy way to mask the origin of the calls and “trick” your Caller ID to show up as the IRS or other government agency. Scammers then demand immediate payment over the phone by hard to trace methods like cash, wire or services like MoneyGram and Walmart-2-Walmart. In one variation of the scam, scammers demand payment using iTunes gift cards. iTunes gift cards can be used to make purchases on the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, Mac App Store or to buy Apple Music memberships. Requests for “tax payments” made using the cards – though it sounds outlandish – were successful: according to the United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), at least 328 people paid out a total of $1.4 million to the scammers using iTunes gift cards as of midyear.
It wasn’t until this year, however, that real progress was made.
In May of 2016, TIGTA announced the arrests of five individuals said to be involved in the scams. The five individuals were arrested in Miami, FL, and charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to the court documents, the five suspects are responsible for almost $2 million in schemes that defrauded more than 1,500 victims. Written by Kelly Phillips Erb , FORBES STAFF