• Naïve victims usually lose around $1000 to $30,000.
  • Well planed modus operandi.
  • Strings attached to Call Centers in 8 Indian States.

A female Immigrant from India in Buffalo, New York received a call on her phone as being from a 911 number. The caller claimed to be a U.S. Immigration Agent. After getting her personal details the caller threatened her with immediate deportation.
To save herself from deportation the caller then ordered woman to follow his Instructions. As alleged by the woman , the caller then instructed her to go to the Home Depot Store at 2100 Elmwood Ave. and buy the itunes gift cards and read the numbers to him over the telephone.
As alleged, she bought 34 gift cards in total worth $ 50 each costing her $1700 in total. She stayed on the phone with the person the entire episode and paid $1700 to home depot using her bank debit card. The victim who lives near the University at buffalo south campus told the whole story to northeast district police department once she realizes the the caller was a scammer and she has been robbed in a very clever way.
A String of Scams around the World
It is not the first time, often Innocent people are targeted and robbed by scammers with threats of deportation. Naïve victims of these scammers and immigration fraud usually lose around $1000 to $30,000 as per a study conducted about immigration frauds. In a condition if an illegal immigrant becomes a victim he might give up a big sum of his earned money.
In November, 2017 Sydney, Australia based temporary immigrant Gurwinder Singh faced the same victimization when he lost $5000 to a group of scammers who pretended to be police officials. Gurwinder Singh who is on 457 visa of Australia and lived with his wife in Wentworthville suburb in Sydney’s west said he was afraid to be deported back to India.
Well Planned Modus Operandi
“It was all planned.” told singh.
“One of the scammer told me that he is John Harris, an official with Australian Tax Office, and there are discrepancies in my tax return.” Scammer further added that I will be deported for making false claims with the tax office. Singh said when he hung up the call, there was another phone call from a person pretending to be a Police Officer.
“It was a panic situation. The phone number as shown by my True Caller App was of AFP Police Switchboard.
Another sufferer from Melbourne Australia
Around the same time Gurjit Kaur a permanent resident of Melbourne Australia was also deceived into this kind of situation. She was expecting a call regarding her daughter’s passport which she recently made an application for. She did receive a call from a number which appeared to be of the Indian consulate in Sydney but it wasn’t about her daughter’s passport. After inquiring about her identity and obtaining other personal details such as her passport number and where she worked, the man at the other end of the line, told gurjit that she had misled the government by giving out wrong information in her immigration form at the time she traveled to Australia from India. The man then told Gurjit who is a permanent resident that her visa had been cancelled and that she would have to pay $20,000 and that she had fifteen days or she would be arrested and deported.
Targeted Indian expat in Middle East
An Indian woman came forward in Abu Dhabi who wired Dh 1,800 to avoid getting thrown out of the country.
As the woman alleged “ It was an hour long call, and there were three or four different men who spoke to me . They said some immigration papers were missing from my file and they had orders to deport me immediately. They actually sounded like security officials speaking in stern and intimating manner, and I really got scared.”
The Woman received the call around 3:40pm on Wednesday and the call records showed the GDRFA’s toll free number 800511 were spoofed by the scammers.
“They said I am blacklisted as per Article No 18 of the Immigration Law. And I will be deported and arrested in Delhi under Article No 20. And the only way to avoid deportation is by wiring Dh1,800 to India to hire a lawyer and get clearance letter from the Indian authorities.”
The victim immediately wired the money through the Western Union money exchange and the amount was collected within five minutes.
United States lost “hundreds of millions” in IRS scam
As per United States department of Justice, Over four years, more than 15,000 victims in the United States lost hundreds of millions of dollars to these seasoned scams. As per the data more than 50,000 individuals had their personal information misused.
As per the court documents the calls came suddenly and frequently while the scam was active since 2012. A person pretending to be an Internal Revenue Service or Immigration official was on the phone. The person would threat like arrest, deportation or other penalties if the victim did not immediately pay with prepaid cards or wire transfer.
The calls target the most vulnerable Americans, including immigrants and older people.
This scam had its strings attached to india as the money was routed through call centers in eight states. 21 conspirators of this scam were arrested and sentenced in July, 2018.
NZ Woman Faces deportation after losing $33,000 to scammers
Not a long ago, in September, 2018 and Indian woman Damanpreet Kaur facing deportation told that she wants justice served on the men she alleged took $ 33,000 from her in return for work visas for jobs that did not exist.
Damanpreet alleged that she paid two tauranga men more than $ 18,000 for the work visa and job last year. A year later she paid a Hamilton man $15,000 for the same. In both cases she received a 2 year work visa that restricted her employment by the company named on the visa, found there was no job.
Damanpreet further told she was depressed and had provided Immigration New Zealand with details of her allegations in hope it will allow her to stay in the country. Her immigration adviser, Tuariki Delamere, urged the government to crack dow    n on the group, who he described as parasites.
Being Vigilant is the only way out
As per the findings, all these victims are naïve and as per well planned modus operandi they did not get a single clue about being victimized. For further vigilance,  it is being informed that no Government Organization, Institution or Authority ask for immediate payment or any payments in the form of wire transfer, gift cards and prepaid cards. Without any fear hang up the call and report to police department.
Being a little clever, try to bring them down to Hindi or Punjabi, they will easily start conversation in the regional language. Once they start speaking regional language it will be really easy for you to get familiar with Great sons of soil from India and Pakistan scamming their own brothers and sisters in the name of Immigration and Tax Revenue.

Written by Parmvir Singh
Source: https://medium.com/@parmvirsingh/indian-woman-scammed-into-buying-1700-gift-cards-82a7fa135867