India Busts IRS Scammers

Police in India have raided nine call centers in Mumbai and arrested 70 people who were calling phone numbers in the United States pretending to be Internal Revenue Service demanding payment for taxes.

A police official said that another 630 people were also under investigation in the scam after Wednesday's raid.

“They would give an American name and a batch number and tell the [US] citizen that they owed the authorities $4,000, $5,000 or $10,000,” Paramvir Singh, police commissioner in the Mumbai suburb of Thane, India, told The Guardian. “They were instructed to stay on the phone and told that their homes would be raided by police within 30 minutes if they hung up. They made threats, they said: ‘You have to pay, otherwise you will lose your job, your money, your house.’”

Victims were instructed to go to a nearby department store and buy a prepaid debt card that they would deposit the money on and then transfer it to a bank account in the U.S. The scam netted the operation approximately $150,000 a day, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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