At work on India-based imposter scams

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Imposter scams like phony tech support scams and IRS impersonator calls continue to hit computers and phones across the country. And the scammers behind them continue to make it tough to track them down by masking their caller ID information and sending money through obscure and tangled routes. What we do know is that many of these scammers are based in India.

That’s why, at a recent FTC-led roundtable in Washington, DC, law enforcers, technologists, consumer advocates, and representatives from the Indian government and industry met to look at what more we can do to fight imposter scams. This event was the latest in a series of events in the U.S. and India.

Some key questions we posed: What tools or practices can make it more difficult — and less profitable — for scammers to run these rip-offs? How can companies and law enforcement gather and share information more effectively in the real-time race to stop these scams? And how can we help people recognize these frauds? The group heard about technologies that block calls from known scammers, recent law enforcement raids and guilty pleas, and the impact of targeted consumer education.

The roundtable partnership is just one way the FTC is taking on imposter scams. For example, as part of Operation Tech Trap, the FTC and its partners recently announced 16 court actions to stop tech support scams that tricked people into paying millions of dollars to rid their computers of non-existent viruses. The FTC also is continuing to promote technological solutions and warn people about these frauds.

But there’s more to do — and you can help. If you’re targeted by an imposter scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You report IRS imposters to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at tigta.gov.

Find out more about these and other common imposter scams at ftc.gov/imposters. Then share what you know with your friends and family.

Comments

I hope the feds catch them and give them at lease 50 years of fed time.

There's nothing the FTC nor the U.S. can do to "catch them" nor punish them, as they are citizens of another country, of which the U.S. has no jurisdiction. We need to be informed about these scams in order to protect ourselves.

Great

A.T.T. has connected me to these scammers to fix my connection with skype ! Did not fix it and cost me $150.00 showed me all these countries were using my # will never fall for that again !They were calling three times a day and i called a.t.t. to stop the calling and the guy said it was a a.t.t. #

I had the same thing happen to me. I discontinued my credit card before they could make the charge. My "connection" came about when I contacted at&t with a problem. They allegedly connected me to Yahoo..whom they said was doing updates. Then someone came on the line telling me exactly what this person says above. (I thought I was talking with Yahoo.)Interestingly,over a YEAR later, I just received an email (another scam as it turned out) allegedly from Transunion Credit Bureau...also got a phone call from same. Since I do receive credit reports, I called and it was a PRETEND Collection person...on a very bad cell phone and with an equally bad accent. He tried to threaten me..telling me how I had to send payment (via a very complicated system of Apple Itune cards..in increments of less than $100.00 each!) They even gave me my local addresses for the stores and 7/11s that could accomodate me!! This was at 5:30 on a Wed. evening. He told me that if I didn't respond with the full payment (which he claimed was $650.00!!) that it would go to Federal Court and they would ruin my credit rating. I told them that I had no intention of paying a bill I didn't owe and that I would send their information to my son, who is a District Attorney.
Other than a total of 3 email threats prior to this conversation, I haven't heard from him again.
It does make me wonder about at&ts security...because the hackers got right in there as soon as I had reached Yahoo and Yahoo put me on hold. I had all this happen another time...through at&t and..like the person above...they SHOWED me all the different places around the world that were using my email address...mostly to set up porn sites, they said. I nipped that one in the bud...with the help of Mastercard!

I GET 10 TO 15 OF THOSE CALLS EVERYDAY. THEY KEEP LEAVING MESSAGES . CALLING FROM 358-963-5475, 368-578-6398, 859-203-1553,667-444-0385 & 202-559-6186

IT WOULD HELP TO SPREAD THE WORD IF YOU WOULD PUT AN E-MAIL ACCESS ON THIS SITE. NOT EVERYONE HAS TWITTER, FACEBOOK OR LINKEDIN CONNECTIONS.
THANK YOU.

If you want to send a link to this blog, copy the URL from the address bar at the top of the page, and paste it into an email you send. The URL for this blog post is https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/work-india-based-imposter-scams.

I get these calls at least once a month, and by blocking my computer also 888-554-3060.

I get these calls from IRS saying they have a case against me. I don't answer calls from numbers I don't know. However, it is irritating! I put my home and cell phone on the DO NOT CALL REGISTERY. This helps a lot. I'm a senior, however I do know the IRS doesn't make those calls. They put it in writing or person. I think about those elderly men and women who are not really informed and feel so bad that it must be very frightening. The world has changed since some were really in touch. Keep up the good work of spreading this knowledge. Thanks!

I got three of those calls posing as IRS and it was a woman who was very mean sounding in her voice., like I was in danger of my life if I didn't respond. I saved the recorded messages in case I needed help.I still have them . So they would know what happened. I sent the e- mails to IRS.gov as we are supposed to and I hope she got caught. This was a threatening phone call giving the impression that I was being watched by a person who would come and forcefully arrest me. I knew , thanks to my knowledge of scams, that it was a scam, but this one was so scary that I almost called the police. I hope no senior who is is poor health was hurt by these people. There are so many seniors who do not keep up on things that can harm them. God bless, Beegee

As a consumer advocate in my community I regularly write letters to the editor of my community newspaper alerting our residents to the latest scams. However, since many scams are done through the telephone (calls and texts), with masked and phony originating information, filing complaints rarely helps. Public awareness avoids victimization.

No money on credit cards should be allowed to leave the US without a 2nd and 3rd confirmation and verification by credit card Companies or phone Companies and Credit Card users. Additionally, a 14 day hold should be automatically placed on all money which is listed to leave the USA. Lastly, fraudulent charges initiated in other countries which are not immediately refunded should FREEZE ALL financial exchanges to the other Country until satisfactorily resolved. IF THE US WOULD PUT SOME BIG TEETH IN THE PROBLEM AT HAND, THE PROBLEM WOULD STOP AND SELF DESTRUCT....

Hear, hear! If there was an appropriate task force, then I am sure the problem could be solved. If I started a change.org petition suggesting "Do you want the Federal Government to finally resolve the problem of these unwanted phone calls, as well as the ones which intend fraud?" I bet it would get a very large number of signers. Many more than have signed on to this blog.

I couldn't agree with you more. What an awesome idea. Why hasn't this been addressed before? The government should be on top of this anyway, for any money going Internationally from the USA. Want to run for POTUS? I'm not kidding. I thought this was a really great idea.

You should work for the FTC.

Unfortunately scammers like these trick peopke into using a money wire system like western union or even by having the victem purchase something like an i-tunes gift card. Those systems should be more regulated to allow easier tracking of funds. The real trick is lobying to enforce such proposed regulation.

What can be done about the sale of the technology that allows these callers to mask their phone number? This method primarily helps thieves and fraudsters. Can't we do something that at least shuts this down locally (US)?. The technology is also used to harass and stalk individuals. I know because I have been a victim. Is it a case of the technology being out and legal and now there is no way for us to go back? The misuse of this technology helped to cause me grave injury as it does millions of others each year. The technology is also used to terrorize individuals. I absolutely despise those who use the technology for profit. Why can't something at least be done about the calls that originate within the U.S. or is there no way to make a distinction? Please respond.

Scammers fake caller ID information to trick people into picking up the phone, or to convince them to respond. We have more information about limiting unwanted calls & email.

THANKS!!!

Thank you for addressing this!

Good Stuff! Well, not really. I assume this is the job of US again. When one person who tries to do good; then they kick out. So it's pretty much US have to do it whatever they have to do because what do you want to except from an underdeveloped country ?

If the FTC really wanted to stop this they could ,like AT&T really don't want to stop robo calls

According to Frontier can only block six numbers. Which does nothing to stop these people. They spoof numbers of people that are deceased or are on Facebook. Tired of hearing the phone ring, will not answer unless I recognize the number. The latest scam is inquiring "Are you There?" which most people would answer yes. Did not answer attempted to block the number, they would not hang up. That is how I overheard them asking the above question.

Verizon used tech help for your internet service from India when you don't have paid premium US based service. there was a documentary some time ago about Verizon tech workers getting fired and then stealing/obtaining customers emails and then using their skills to con people when they were out of a job.I had a few times with them and I never knew their names, and never received a follow up email and always was uncomfortable with the tech help remotely getting into my cmputer to help me and the language barrier and the lack of proper identification and follow up.
Then I saw the documentary and now I have a local computer tech help with issues. I have to pay but peace of mind for security is well worth the cost.

It is time to stop this practice; the perpetrators have learned that statistics is on their side. Increase the volume of calls, and sooner or later you reach someone who will fall prey to the scheme. Why can't we stop this nonsense?

I just received a call from officer Kevin McCoy IRN14908 from # 315-294-5699 Said I have a warrant out for my arrest for taxes 2012-2016 was supposedly done incorrectly wanted $4986 or will have court and will have to pay 75.000 and serve 5 years in prison. said police will be at my door within the hour. He said he would seize all property and freeze bank accounts and etc. This guy is a scam beware all.

Got a call from 631-318-6335. This is the gist of what was left on my voicemail. "next 24 working hours and once again expired after that you will be taken under custody by the local cops as there are four serious allegations pressed on your name at this moment we would request you to get back to us so that we can discuss about this case before taking any legal action against you the number to reach us is 631.31 8.6335 I repeat 631.31 8.6335 thank you…”

Seriously, do they take me for an idiot?! These scammers are really getting bad and switching their stories. My father-in-law recently received a call supposedly from an attorney stating that my niece had been in an accident and had killed someone and was now in jail in Florida. Wanted my FIL to go to Best Buy and buy 10 gift cards worth $1,009 and then call them back with the card numbers. They supposedly had a girl come on the line impersonating my niece and saying the reason why she sounded different was because she had a sore throat. My FIL was on the way to get those gift cards, but thank goodness my mother-in-law suspected something wasn't right.

It's horrible how these people target the older folk. They need to be locked up for good.

What is being done about the US companies that continue to ship their customer service calls to India?

I too was a victim of the computer fix scam. I realized it right away and stopped my credit charge, restored my computer to a previous day, and had the Geek Squad go through the computer. That was about 5 years ago and these scammers are still harassing me by calling all the time. I tried blocking them but their phone number comes through as all zeros. I now do not answer any calls that I don't know. I tell people that and for them to leave a message and I will get back to them. Two IRS scammers have left messages but I do not call them back. One message threatened me with legal action if I did not call them but I ignored that also. I have been on the "Do not call lists" for years but they are worthless. There has to be technology to prevent this but for some reason it is prevented from being put into use.

who is worse, the robocall scammers, or the people who get a paycheck every week whose reply is "its the technology we cant do anything about"

My wife and I have been on the do not call registry since it's inception. But like everyone else on the registry, continue to get many calls on a daily basis, calls from all around the country. If it is not a familiar number, we just don't answer. The assumption we make is that if the call is ligit, the caller won't mind leaving a message. Funny how the mysterious callers never leave a message. So if you inadvertently won my Publisher's Clearing House money because I refused to answer the phone, how about putting it to good use.

I got something like that but saying they are from the FBI FEDERAL Bureau investigation FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS (F.B.I)
HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535-0001
FROM THE DESK OF STEPHEN E.RICHARDSON
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION,
E-Mail: fbi.usainvestigation@

Our Ref: FBI /0N8/CONTRACT NO.856.
Motto: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity

Greetings Dear.

Thanks for the urgent respond, my reason of coming down to Africa is to make sure we get all the fraudsters arrested which we have arrested some of them and before the end of next week I believe we will recover every overdue inheritance fund that belong to you and other citizens that have not been able to receive their funds because of the high fee demanded by the fraudsters.

So kindly stop every communication with any other email or phone call you receive until we complete the investigations we have at hand, I want you to keep everything by your self to avoid those scammers notice that we are in their Country for investigation until we get all of them arrested.

I have already recover

ed $1.2 Million United State Dollars which was uploaded into a verified Atm swift card yesterday so forward your delivery address so that I can register it to DHL or UPS Delivery company for them to have it deliver to you without any delay to your address.

The details needed from you to enable them complete the delivery to you is below.
Full Name/
Address /
Cell Phone/
Country/

Once I confirm this details I will register your atm swift card and notify you with the tracking number so that you will be monitoring the delivery, if you receive any other email or phone call apart from us make sure you forward them to me so that I can confirm if they are legit or not.

We are here to server you better.

Warm Regards.
STEPHEN E.RICHARDSON
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS (F.B.I)

Who falls for these? Well, an elderly man in our small town fell for a "get rich quick" scheme and handed over 17-thousand dollars (his life savings)
Needless to say, he didn't get it back!

I've been getting calls from "Allentown" every day, all day but seems like they've stopped since I filed a complaint with FTC and FCC! Now I get calls from local phone numbers! I don't know these people, so I never answer! There should be a law against spoofing! And against scammers!

THIS REALLY SUCKS. I JUST GOT A CALL FROM 202-800-8896 SAYING IT IS THE IRS AND I BETTETR GET A LAWYWER. I COULD NOT UNDERSTAND A WORD SAID BECAUSE OF THICK ACCENT. INDIA I THINK.I NORMALY ANSWERE THES CALLS.THEY REALLY NEED TO BE STOPPED.

Scammers are Calling my friends and family to find any information they can to use for fraud against me. Acting as though I'm being sued And need my info.

While I understand the FTC has no jurisdiction in foreign countries e.g. India, the US does have trade and other agreements with these countries. Perhaps it's time to modify those agreements to include monetary penalties for criminal activities potentially threatening to US citizens that may be sanctioned and/or ignored by the foreign governments.

I feel that there should be a special division of Interpol to help catch these scammers, otherwise they will know they can do whatever they want and never get caught for their actions.

PHONE NUMBER 844-325-0373 IS A SCAM IF THEY CAN NOT HACK YOUR COMPUTER THEY WILL CALL YOU THAT ITS BEEN HACKED AND WILL TRY TO DOWNLOAD INTO YOUR COMPUTER FROM INDIA. I ALSO BLOCKED A FEW OF THEIR PHONE NUMBERS STARTING WITH 855

I was recently contacted they said they were microsoft and my computer had a virus and no firewall or antispy ware and I needed to turn on my computer right away so they could rid my computer of this. He was from India and was very rude. I hung up on him it was a number from N.Y. according to my caller id. I Have gotten these messages on my computer freezing my screen the only way to unfreeze is to call the 1800 number.

When I get that screen freeze because of that scam, I use: ALT,CTRL,DEL and close down what I was doing. It works. These people want to embed something that will allow them into all your files.

As with many of the complaints already reported, I, too am harassed MANY times a day...EVERY day (even 7:30 am on a Sunday) by many of the same numbers as above. I am an elderly lady with many health problems...but I have sense enough to not answer numbers I am not familiar with. However, it is extremely irritating to have my entire day...EVERY day...interrupted by these types of calls..and they never leave a message (not that I would respond!). It's just extremely disrupting and hard to have a day that is peaceful due to their persistance.

I am grateful that we have the FTC to report all these scams to. It is extremely frustrating to feel that you are being assaulted every day in your own home by never-ending phone calls from numbers and people you don't know! I, too, just don't answer the phone..but it's still irritating and interrupting in the one place you should be able to find a haven of peace!

just received a fraud call requesting information from an 80 year old man.Stated they were from MEDICARE and they were sending a free back brace.Called this man back 4 times bc he kept hanging up on them. I finally got on the phone and said I was reporting them to medicare for harassment.They never called back but I think they got his claim number. I called Medicare and reportEd them. Beware they sound like they are from INDIA and the phone number they called from was 16162274260

there is a fraud on facebook right now, Kathy Farley, trying to give government grants away, just send money and you get up to 350000. What is being done about this? Nothing. I was told by two people it had been reported, yet she is still there. And she is one of many.

A few years ago I bought a new HP computer. I already had an HP printer. After I set everything up, I could not get the computer to recognize the printer. I knew I must be doing something wrong so I looked up an HP helpline number on the internet. I e-mailed. The person who contacted me via e-mail said I had 800 viruses on my computer and he would clean it up for $150, but I had to give him permission to come onto my computer. It was a new computer and I knew I hadn't had it hooked up long enough to get 800 viruses and the first thing, I did, was install McAfee security with a fire wall. Later, I wrote to HP telling them what happened. I didn't fall for it and I thought they should know about it. They never answered me. Lately, I got a phone call saying I had a number of virulent viruses on my computer. My phone showed the call coming from New York. The caller told me to turn on my computer and he would direct me from there. I told him I would have to put the phone down to turn on the computer. I put the phone down and went on about what I had been doing. When I finally did pick up the phone the caller had hung up. As soon as I hung the phone up, it rang again. This time the caller ID showed Chicago, IL. It was the same guy and he said me must have been disconnected. This proves they can use any city.

I am receiving these calls. Unfortunately they sold me a security app for new HP lap top. I fell for the refund scam last 8/10/17 ....getting repeat calls and they had gotten to my computer and bank account ...then I realized this is a scam. Called my BANK TO change all passwords etc.
NOW I am receiving calls from a unknown caller. What can I do?

Please see the FTC publication, Blocking Unwanted Calls. It lists options for blocking robocalls and other unwanted calls.

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