I have a dear friend who speaks often of how irritating it is, not to mention just a bit frightening, to receive on average two phone calls a day from people pretending to be IRS agents. Her husband takes the frustrating calls in stride, knowing them for what they are and pulling the perpetrators along with his own brand of humor – until they get the clue and hang up. I do know she got so tired of the calls she researched and found a place to “inform” authorities and is elated that just recently, the United States Department of Justice unsealed an indictment charging 61 people and various transnational entities involved as part of a rather large “organizational scheme.” Many people have been frustrated with the distraction of the calls… they got off easy! The DOJ announced the “organization” has actually caused vulnerable Americans to lose millions of dollars.
Long story short… the criminal organization was transnational, which probably accounts for many non-English speaking representatives who victimized tens of thousand of persons in our communities. The scheme included 20 individuals arrested in the United States, as were 32 others—working from five call centers located in India; one other who is a U.S.-based defendant being held in custody with immigration authorities.
Let us pray the indictment and arrests demonstrate the DOJ is committed to consumers as they identify and prosecute individuals… sending a big message around the world that although we are deemed always at risk for identity theft and fraud, our governing bodies will remain vigilant in prosecuting fraud and identity theft… even on a transnational level when required. Our vulnerability is certainly exacerbated when modern criminals can so easily attack from within our borders… and just as easily from abroad. Let this be a lesson to us all to work tirelessly with authorities to provide evidence and build cases—willingly working with and involving law enforcement.
WASHINGTON D.C. (KLTV) reported, “Today’s actions will not only bring a sense of justice to the victims in this case, but this significant investigation will also help increase awareness of this type of fraud,” said Edge. “To potential victims, our message today is simple: U.S. government agencies do not make these types of calls, and if you receive one, contact law enforcement to report the suspected scam before you make a payment.”
I did find it surprising to know the investigation extended well beyond three years and sense the courage of those who were victimized to come forward—regardless the potential embarrassment or fear of potential retaliation of the India-based conspirators. Under the threat of arrest, imprisonment, and a litany of other unfavorable actions, the victims paid through prepaid debit cards or wire transfers, making it easy for the money to be liquidated and laundered through the network of U.S.-based co-conspirators who used fake names and identification and kept a portion of the funds for themselves to handle funds “transferred internationally outside our formal banking system.”
Many articles have been posted about this situation… each one telling another almost unbelievable story of the lengths to which the “fraudsters” went to bilk people of their funds. One tells of an 85-year-old victim who was extorted of $12,300 and another of a person in California, who was harassed over a period of 20 days, robbing the victim of $136,000—yes, $136,000! If you, too, happen to have had a similar experience, you are encouraged to contact the following:
I hope you have enjoyed this article; that it has made you think and reconsider just how cautious you must be: unfortunately, just short of being paranoid! What I want to effect with the Identity Theft articles is to impress upon my readers how easy it is for almost anyone to fall victim to these predators. I also want to reiterate it you don’t have some sort of identity theft protection, the financial devastation could be huge. If you feel you want to read more Identity Theft articles, stories, and resources, click HERE.
As part of my insurance portfolio, I do offer an Identity Theft Protection Plan through my professional relationship with Legal Shield. If you would like to know more about this plan, I invite you to review my website by clicking HERE. You can make your purchase right from the website, or call me at 480 720 3600 to discuss any questions you may have about the product and services.
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Arizona Independent Insurance Agent
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