It’s likely you’ve gotten one of these calls.
“Sir, you have to have $1500 by the end of the day to resolve this issue or we’ll have a sheriff waiting at your house,” says Tony Gray.
They impersonate the IRS, police, and other government officials. And now, some of those people are finally behind bars. A joint task force formed by the Department of Justice, The Treasury Inspector General, Homeland Security and others was able to take down a network of call centers in the U.S. and India. The operation began in 2013.
“This criminal network used a variety of schemes to trick frightened individuals over the phone by tapping into their worst fears,” says Leslie Caldwell with the Department of Justice.
22 people were arrested, charged with international fraud and money laundering conspiracy. There were more than 15,000 victims which included the elderly and new immigrants to the U.S. These crooks stole hundreds of millions of dollars. People fall for it, because the scammers are good at what they do.
“They convey authority and a sense of urgency that leaves their victims terrified,” says Bruce Foucart, Assistant Director of Homeland Security Investigations.
And even if you don’t give them money, you can still be a victim of the scammer’s vindictive nature.
“when the man failed to respond to repeated phone demands to withdrawal money from the bank to pay four years of supposed back taxes, the scammers called 911, posing as the victim, telling the dispatcher that he was armed and wanted to kill cops. Within minutes there were a dozen heavily armed police officers surrounding the victim’s residence where his daughter was home alone,” says Foucart.
Officials said in the press conference the scammers are convincing because they do research on their victim. And a lot of their information comes from Facebook.