In the latest scam, two Indian Americans allegedly stole over $100,000 from an elderly woman in Massachusetts
For the past two decades, Indian American professionals in the US have created a neat niche for themselves – educated, employed, and often savvy in information technology.
However, in the recent past, this model minority tag seems to be getting tainted with many online scams involving Indians coming to the surface. The latest in the series is a story from Boston.
Read: DHS warns immigrants, minority groups to be wary of scam calls (August 31, 2022)
Two Indian Americans from Parsippany, New Jersey, were arrested for allegedly stealing about $109,000 from a 78-year-old woman in Massachusetts. The theft happened through a computer virus scam, according to the police.
The men are both in their early twenties. Niki S Yadav, 22, and Raj Vipul Patel, 21, worked by demanding funds from unsuspecting victims for removing unwanted items from their computers.
The victim, an elderly woman from Massachusetts, called a tech support number to seek assistance with an issue with her computer last week.
The arrest happened when the two came to the victim’s house to collect money from her. Both men are now charged with conspiracy and larceny by false pretenses.
The two men were held overnight at the Yarmouth Police Department and have been transferred to court for arraignment.
Fraud involving the elderly has been a growing concern in the US. Often the victims are unsuspecting and seeking help with issues with their computers when they are trapped in a scam.
Read: Indian American man pleads guilty to scam to defraud elderly (January 12, 2021)
According to the data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were 92,371 elderly victims of fraud in 2021 alone which resulted in $1.7 billion in losses.
Cybercrimes cost Americans over 50 nearly $3 billion last year, which is a whopping 62% surge over 2020, according to the FBI’s 2021 Elder Fraud Report.
It is a matter of concern for authorities because of late a growing number of seniors in the US are falling prey to scams where the scammers dupe the victim by posing to be government employees.
Sweepstakes and robocalls are other areas where many people have been defrauded in recent times.
Last week, an Indian American man, called Nikesh Ajay Patel was charged with a $20 million fraud. The Florida man was charged with 13 counts including one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and eight counts of money laundering. He pleaded guilty and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.
Oftentimes the accused are young men. Just this past February, a 22-year-old Indian American man Jeel Patel from South Carolina was sentenced to 51 months in prison for mail and wire fraud targeting the elderly.
He was part of an international fraud scheme that originated from call centers in India and targeted the elderly in the US. After trapping the customers the fraudsters would impersonate government officials from the FBI etc and ask the victims to wire them funds.