FBI joins search for kingpin of India call center linked to IRS scam


MUMBAI (WHTM) – The FBI is working with Indian police to find the kingpin of an IRS scam that cheated thousands of Americans out of millions of dollars, according to The Manila Times.

A spokesperson for police in the Thane suburb of Mumbai said an FBI representative met with the police commissioner’s office on Friday morning to exchange notes about the call center scam.

According to the paper, police have identified the ringleader of the scam as Sagar Thakkar, 23. Police believe the man, who is also known as “Shaggy” fled India.

Indian police arrested 70 people and questioned hundreds more last week after raiding call centers in India.

According to police, they were involved in a scam where they would call American citizens and told them they owed back taxes.

Those who fell for the scam would pay out thousands of dollars to “settle” their case.

Police said the scam brought in more than $150,000 a day. If the scam netted that amount daily, it would have made almost $55 million in one year.

After the raid, police said they are likely to file charges against many of the 600 or more people still being questioned on suspicion of running the fake call centers, housed on several stories of a Mumbai office building. There is no word on whether those charges have been filed.

Indian media reports said 70 percent of the scam’s proceeds were retained by the suspects in India, while the rest was paid to collaborators in the U.S.

Indian news broadcaster NDTV reported that one U.S.-based company allegedly collected the victims’ personal information and passed it to the fake call centers.

The IRS reports receiving more than 900,000 complaints about similar scam calls since October 2013. More than 5,000 people have fallen for the scam, paying out more than $26 million collectively as a result of scams.

The IRS has yet to comment on this recent arrest in India.

The IRS warns it will never call and demand immediate payment. It will never require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, like a gift card or prepaid debit card. The agency will never ask for credit card numbers over the phone.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, you should never give out personal information. Report the call to the IRS using their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.

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