Last Friday, the United States Department of Justice announced that “21 members of a massive India-based fraud and money laundering conspiracy that defrauded thousands of U.S. residents of hundreds of millions of dollars were sentenced this week o terms of imprisonment up to 20 years.”
Targeting immigrants and the elderly, the scam artists used the oldest trick in the phone scam book, the IRS scam. They threatened consumers of arrest or deportation for tax violations, spoofing caller I.D. as the U.S. Government to guarantee victims would pick up, along with offering grants or payday loans linked to a borrower’s paycheck, requesting victims pay a fee upfront before they receive the loan.
The 21 scammers were in eight states – Illinois, Arizona, Florida, California, Alabama, Indiana, New Jersey and Texas. And in addition to these individuals, 32 contractors in five call centers in Ahmedabad, India, were indicted on wire fraud, money laundering and other conspiracy charges as part of the scheme.
Since the beginning of this year, Hiya seen a drastic increase in the IRS scam. From January to June there has been 703% growth.
The following are the top 10 most reported area codes related to the IRS Scam:
1. (202), Washington D.C.
2. (646), New York City
3. (631), New York
4. (315), New York
5. (206), Seattle
6. (607), New York
7. (518), New York
8. (585), New York
9. (585), Washington State
10. (347), New York City
Despite this wave of scammers fortunately being caught, we should always prepare for the next phase of scammers who will find their way back to our phones. Here are some tips on how you can avoid being the next IRS scam victim.