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After the IRS scam, fraudsters now spoof Indian embassy phones to extort money

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Callers demand money by telling unsuspecting victims that there are errors in their passports, visa forms and immigration forms.

The Embassy of India in Washington DC has issued an advisory warning about an extortion scheme in which callers identifying themselves as embassy officials demand money from Indian nationals in the United States.

“It has been brought to the notice of the Embassy that some fraudsters are spoofing Embassy of India telephone lines to make calls aimed at cheating people,” it said in the advisory. “Some of these calls are shown as being from the Embassy telephone numbers (202-939-7000) while others simply use Embassy identity.”

The callers extort money by telling unsuspecting victims that there are errors in their passports, visa forms and immigration forms. Some of them also ask personal information like credit card details, according to the embassy. Even Americans applying for Indian visas have received such calls.

READ: Got a call from the IRS threatening arrest, jail time? It’s a scam (March 28, 2014)

The embassy said that its officials don’t make phone calls to Indian or foreign nationals seeking personal information. If any additional documentation is required, it contacts existing applicants only through emails originating from the domain @mea.gov.in, the advisory said.

“The Embassy of India hereby advises members of the public not to entertain any suspicious telephone calls made in the name of Embassy of India. They are also advised not to reveal any personal information or transfer any money in response to such calls,” the advisory read.

Earlier, similar complaints from other diplomatic missions, especially of the European nations, were reported to US officials. However, this is the first time reports about fraudsters spoofing Indian Embassy numbers have been reported.

In 2016, the Department of Justice had busted an elaborate scam targeting H-1B visa holders. Callers purported to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), told the victims that they owe money and that if they fail to cooperate, they can be arrested, detained, and even deported back to their home country.

According to experts, it is very difficult to find the origin of spoof phone calls, as spoofing technology is easily available.

The Embassy of India requested members of the public to bring such matters to the notice at the email id: cons.washington@mea.gov.in and asked to share the information on spoofed calls by filling a form and sending it to cpers.washington@mea.gov.in with a subject INFORMATION ON SPOOFED CALLS.

Read the Embassy of India advisory in full:

Advisory on Fraud Calls 

It has been brought to the notice of the Embassy that some fraudsters are spoofing Embassy of India telephone lines to make calls aimed at cheating people. Some of these calls are shown as being from the Embassy telephone numbers (202-939-7000) while others simply use Embassy identity. These fraudsters either seek personal information like credit card details etc. or try to extort money from Indian nationals by inter alia claiming that there are errors in their passports, visa forms, immigration forms etc. which could be rectified by paying money, and at the same time warning that the so called errors, if not rectified, could result in deportation of the individual to India or their imprisonment in USA. In some cases, these fraudsters have also falsely claimed that they received such privileged information from the Embassy or other authorities in India. Visa applicants have also received such calls purporting to be from the Embassy.

  1. This is to confirm that no officials from the Embassy make any telephone calls seeking personal information from any Indian or foreign nationals. In case any additional documentation is required from an existing applicant, it is sought only through email(s) originating from the email domain @mea.gov.in.
  2. The Embassy of India hereby advises members of the public not to entertain any suspicious telephone calls made in the name of Embassy of India. They are also advised not to reveal any personal information or transfer any money in response to such calls. They may bring such matters to the notice of the Embassy at the email ID: cons1.washington[at]mea.gov.in.
  3. Also If you want to share the information on spoofed telephone calls PLEASE FILL THE FORM and send it by email to cpers.washington[at]mea.gov.inwith a subject: INFORMATION ON SPOOFED CALLS

H-1B visa holder? A call from 911? Beware!

Got a call from the IRS threatening arrest, jail time? It’s a scam

Got a call from the IRS threatening arrest, jail time? It’s a scam

Got a call from the IRS threatening arrest, jail time? It’s a scam

Got a call from the IRS threatening arrest, jail time? It’s a scam

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