Indian Call Center Agents Pose as Fake IRS Agents, Pocketing Millions of Dollars from U.S. Citizens

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Many Americans have recently become victims of a fraudulently operated tax system run by a number of call centres located in India, where employees were professionally trained to speak the American dialect and gain the trust of their American leads to pocket out millions of dollars. According to the local Indian authorities, more than five hundred people are under suspicion for pulling off one of the biggest scams in Indian history – Indian call centre agents posing as tax officials from the United States of America.

Paramvir Singh, who is the Police Commissioner of Thane, which is a small city near the outskirts of Mumbai, said that he and his team had arrested more than seventy employees, with expectations to arrest more people as the case progresses. The Indian Police raided offices on Oct. 4, when the call centres were active. According to the investigation, the local authorities state that the call centre agents claimed to be government officers from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which comes under the Department of Treasury and is responsible for tax and other financial systems.

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Image Source: International Business Times – The Indian police has arrested 70 people for targeting Americans in a tax scam. Pictured: Indian policemen stand guard.

Once the Indian call centre agent engaged with their target they would claim the victim held unpaid taxes, pumping up their fear by threatening them with prosecution. Furthermore, to gain their trust they would give out their own false western name and an ‘identification number,’ telling the American target that they owed the IRS thousands of dollars.

The fake American IRS agents were trained to stay on the phone and were taught to say that if they didn’t comply with them, the police would breach their homes within half an hour. Essentially, they manipulated people by emotionally charging the conversation, forcing the decision making of the person on the other end, threatening them with extenuating circumstances – such as loss of their home and/or job. Unfortunately for the victim, this fear led to their account details given away so that the Indian agents would charge them money.

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Image Source: The Hindu – Call centre employees, who were arrested for fraud, are being taken captive by the local authorities.

However, one of the giveaways of the call centre agents was when they would tell their victims to go to their nearest Wal-Mart/Target store, telling the victim to load a top-up card with thousands of dollars and then send the money to a local bank account within the United States.

So far, the names of the victims have not been released, but local authorities say the list is long and that the scamming operation was active for over a year.

According to the local authorities, an insider informed the police about the international scam, to which an undercover officer was hired by the call centre to work for them. After the police raided their offices, they found more than eight hundred memory drives with recorded calls, using these as hard evidence in their day at court.

Source: International Business Times, CNN Money, The Hindu, The Washington Post

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