One of the most feared phone calls or pieces of mail an American can get is one from the IRS. A call center in India has recently been taking advantage of this fear by posing as the IRS in order to scam unsuspecting U.S. citizens.
The scam worked like this: U.S. citizens would receive a voicemail from the call center, claiming to be the IRS, the message would state that a lawsuit had been filed against them for tax issues, and that they needed to call back urgently. The automated message used a method known as "spoofing" in order to display the actual IRS's phone number on the receiver's caller ID. When a person called back, they were advised that they owed a certain amount of money and that if they did not pay right now, their home would be raided within half an hour.
Believe it or not, countless people fell for this scam. The call center was boasting income of over $150,000 per day. Each scammer would demand as much as they thought they could get away with, sometimes $500, often in the thousands, and in one case $60,000.
Indian Police Arrested Many, but the Leader's Still on the Lamb
While there have been over 500 individuals detained, and over 70 people arrested, the alleged mastermind is still at large. Indian police and the FBI are hoping that the detained and arrested employees will be able to assist in locating man who organized the scam.
Sources are reporting that the leader of the call center IRS scam, Shahgar Thakkar, fled the region and potentially the country. Surprisingly, Thakkar is only 23 years old. However, he is reportedly very wealthy as he built his wealth through call center scams like this one.
The Real IRS Issued Warnings Last August
Last August, the IRS issued warnings regarding scammers pretending to be calling from the IRS demanding payment. The warning advised that the IRS would never:
If you suspect tax fraud, the IRS has prepared an easy to use chart for you to understand who you can report the problem to.