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Dialing for Dollars

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There’s a new scam going around – and if your family name is from South Asia, there’s a chance you already know about it. If the scam sounds familiar, that’s because it’s been around for years, targeting one group, then another. Right now, the people being targeted seem to be from India and Pakistan; tomorrow: who can say?

Here’s what’s happening: You get a call from someone claiming to be from the government – maybe the IRS, maybe a law enforcement agency, maybe the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The caller often has a foreign accent, and might even speak to you in Hindi or Urdu. The caller might have information about you – the last four digits of your Social Security number, for example. The caller tells you that you owe money, and that if you don’t pay, many bad things will happen (deportation for you and your family, freezing your assets, jail…you name it). The caller will tell you to pay using a prepaid card, and will threaten you if you protest.

If alarm bells went off for you as you read that last paragraph: good! There’s a lot there to set off alarms.

  • Bell #1: The U.S. government will never call you asking for money. Never.   
  • Bell #2: The kinds of threats these callers make are for things that don’t happen. USCIS, for example, will never send the police to your house, and the IRS will not deport you.
  • Bell #3: No government representative – and virtually no legitimate business – will ever ask you to pay them using a prepaid card (or money transfer). Even if everything said on a call you get sounds legitimate to you, if someone asks you to buy a prepaid card or wire money, you know: It’s a Scam.

If you’ve gotten one of these calls – or any call asking you to buy prepaid cards or to wire money – the Federal Trade Commission wants to know about it. Please call 1-877-FTC-HELP and tell your story. It helps our investigators build cases against these scammers.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

SCAM ALERT: 202-239-0118, 2022390118

Watch out for this number: 202-506-8816. Just another scammer with accent

I got a call from 202 241 8816, an automated message claiming to be from IRS and they want me to call them back. I know this is a scam, so not going to call them.

same with me. Call from 202-239-7017 claimed to be IRS and wanted me to call them back. Heavy accent.

Just got a call from: 202-239-7017. "Mike Watson" said he was calling from IRS about a criminal investigation. "Do not disregard this call". I am not calling back.

We had a call today from 202-864-1140. Very heavy accent, name was "Kevin" with a badge #.
He said he was from "the FBI" calling about tax fraud.
Report it to the FTC. Obviously a scam.

My wife received the same calls. I returned the call, we had a nice conversation and talked a little about his family history, gave him some up-dates on animal behavior, discussed the birds and the bees and personal hygiene with him, it was actually quite entertaining, for me. Apparently he wasn't having as much fun, might have been the fact that I pointed out that he didn't curse very well in English, he hung up on me. Surprisingly he called right back. Here is his direct quote, well not exactly I cleaned it up a little, f-you, f-you, f-you, f-you, f-you,............. you get the picture. I let him know that this conversation would be much more fun if he could actually speak AND understand American slang, he hung up again. Surprisingly he called right back. This time it was, suck, suck, suck, suck,........ must have thought his English was better this time. I asked him why he kept wasting his time on me when he could be scamming somebody else, he hung up. Since he didn't answer me I called him back. We had another pleasant conversation and I assured him I would continue to call just to be sure he didn't have any additional questions concerning any of the topics we had discussed. Since this was so much fun I decided to let some of my friends join in the holiday cheer. My suggestion is for everyone to call that number (202-241-2073) and just give them hell, don't argue with them, don't let them talk, just give them hell in your own personal way. Tell everyone you know to call and do the same. If we all stand up to these people it might clog up their system enough for them to move on. These people play on your fear but there is nothing to fear. Stand up and fight back, if enough people join the fight we could possibly save some terrified elderly person from a serious financial problem. One last thing, he never did confirm that his department of the IRS stood for Indian Rectal Service, go figure, my guess is that it probably does.

I have spoken to (3) law enforcement organizations, they all said the same thing. "Nothing we can do about it, the calls are most likely coming from out of the country". I do not believe that the government has any real way of solving this problem. It's not that I am anti-government, quite the opposite I just think that If the people of this country stand together, stop letting this type or any type really, of scam succeed I believe it will do more to hinder their process than anything the government will be able to do. This particular, and many of the other scams plays on peoples fear and nothing more.

I have been told that "under exceptional circumstances- returning their call could amount to harassment", shame on any law enforcement organization that follows through on that. Do that and the criminals win again. Criminals that are impersonating law enforcement and government officials, thought that was against the law.

I believe Americans have the ability to take care of themselves and also help people who are vulnerable. I am not afraid of these people and know there are many in this country that feel the same way. We can help this problem if we show some courage and stand together.

Just got a call from 2022412073, the caller had a heavy indian accent and pretended to be with Crime Investigation Department in Washington DC. Total scam, give them hell.

The government can listen in and record all decent people's phone calls but won't do anything about these criminals Not can't....just won't. 206-312-5431

He is back, he leaves you threatening VM at first women voice, then he starts calling if you ignored the women. When you call the number 1-202-664-8806 he answers and will say "IRS" if asked he will give you his badge no. 237211, his name Mark Hamilton and he even will have ready IRS # 1-800 #, when pressed what is this about he will say he is looking for so and so...., but he will back off, do not give him your name, he already has your phone number.

These scammers are back at it. Got multiple calls today from this number.

My client received a call today from a Richard Williams caller id telephone number (202)239-5036 (Caller ID Name shows Mark Balikowski) He advised my client that he was calling from Bank of America to inform him that he was approved for a loan modification payment of $612.00. He had instructed for him to visit a nearby Walmart and he would need to send a payment in the above amount through MoneyGram immediately. I contacted this individual to verify if indeed this payment would be getting applied to his mortgage account and he disconnected the call. I hope this gets sent to the appropriate task force agency to eliminate fraudulent scams.

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The information you post here on the blog does not go into the database.

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