A Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation originally indicted VoIP provider Sampark and its director Guarav Gupta last November, alleging that the company forwarded tens of millions of scam calls targeting US residents.
Investigators have now indicted six call centers believed to have used the VoIP service to forward their calls.
The scammers targeted residents with multiple ruses. In one, they pose as federal agents to persuade victims that their social security numbers (SSNs) have been used in crimes and then demand payment. In another, they pretend to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and try to claim back taxes. The call centers also pretend to be loan companies, offering fake loans in return for an up-front fee.
In one case, call center fraudsters kept a woman in Georgia on the phone for 11 hours to convince her that she was at risk of arrest. They persuaded her to buy $35,000 in gift cards from multiple stores and then took the numbers from her.
The companies indicted are Achivers A Spirit of BPO Solutions Private Limited, Fintalk Global, Global Enterprises, Shivaay Communication Private Limited, SM Technomine Private Limited, and Technomind Info Solutions.
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The November indictment accuses E Sampark of forwarding calls between May 2015 and June 2020, costing victims over $20m. The company forwarded calls via VoIP providers in the UK along with around 60 servers of its own hosted in Florida. The servers contained over 130,000 recordings of scam calls, including robocall voice messages.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has already implemented rules forcing carriers to verify callers on their networks to help fight scam callers. Americans received 77 billion unwanted robocalls in 2020, according to a Transaction Network Services investigation.
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Danny Bradbury has been a print journalist specialising in technology since 1989 and a freelance writer since 1994. He has written for national publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has won awards for his investigative cybersecurity journalism work and his arts and culture writing.
Danny writes about many different technology issues for audiences ranging from consumers through to software developers and CIOs. He also ghostwrites articles for many C-suite business executives in the technology sector and has worked as a presenter for multiple webinars and podcasts.