Federal officials have arrested a crime ring allegedly responsible for defrauding people out of more than $300 million by claiming they’re from the IRS.
In an indictment unsealed last week by the Department of Justice, more than 60 people have been charged in what the DOJ calls a transnational call center scam that has defrauded 15,000 people.
The organization used call centers in India and automated messages claiming to be the IRS seeking back taxes, threatening potential victims with arrest, imprisonment, fines or deportation if they did not pay taxes or penalties to the government.
They would convince the victims to buy prepaid gift cards and then give the number to the fraudulent agents to redeem, or have money transferred in other ways.
U.S. Treasury Inspector General Russell George said scams like this are persistent.
“If you do get phone calls, and I do expect that these people are resilient and will not give up, my advice to you is to just hang up,” George said.
“To potential victims, our message today is simple: U.S. government agencies do not make these types of calls, and if you receive one, contact law enforcement to report the suspected scam before you make a payment,” said Executive Associate Director Peter T. Edge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
According to the indictment, six of the defendants are from the Chicago suburbs of Willowbrook, Midlothian, Schiller Park and Glendale Heights.
–Illinois News Network