We recently informed readers of our weekly newsletter about a telephone scam targeting Indian immigrants to try to get money. This morning the scam reached our own office when Attorney Rahul Reddy received a phone call from an individual claiming to be from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. Initially, the caller tried to reach Mr. Reddy at his home phone number. Mr. Reddy’s cell phone number was provided to the caller and minutes later, a threatening voicemail message was left on his cell phone about legal action that was being taken against his identity. Anticipating that the call was related to the same scam discussed earlier, Mr. Reddy called back to find out how the scam works.
A “Senior Criminal Investigator” named Don Lawson took the call. He asked if there had been any contact with the local police department or the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. He proceeded to tell Mr. Reddy that there was an affidavit filed against him by the government because he “violated the tax code of 1967” and mentioned two other charges related to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a criminal investigation.
The scammer said that if he did not take care of it right now, the local police would immediately come to his home to arrest him. Mr. Reddy asked how it can be taken care of and the scammer said that, according to the affidavit, the IRS is ready to file a criminal case against Mr. Reddy unless he agrees to a settlement amount of $3,464. If he did not agree, then he could fight the case in court but it would cost $72,000. He could avoid all the hassle by paying $3,464 right now. And if it later turns out that the charges were a mistake, they would refund 80% of the money.
The scammer gave instructions for making the payment of $3,464. Apparently they do not accept checks and their “EFT system” was down so they could not take credit card payments over the phone. Mr. Reddy was asked to obtain “Green Dot Money Cards”, conveniently available at any Wal-Mart store. He was instructed to buy 3 prepaid cards in the amount of $1,000 each and one card in the amount of $464. The caller would not allow Mr. Reddy to call back after he obtained the cards. He instructed that he would wait on hold while Mr. Reddy went to the store to purchase the cards. Then he would take the card information over the phone. If Mr. Reddy were to hang up during this process, the police would immediately be notified to arrest him. As soon as the payment is made, the scammer told him all charges will be dropped.
At this point, Mr. Reddy informed the scammer that he would complain to the authorities and the call was immediately disconnected by the scammer. While it may seem easy for many to conclude that this kind of call is just a scam and hang up, clearly there are people out there who followed the caller’s instructions and were cheated out of a large amount of money. Otherwise, these scammers would be out of business. Don’t be a victim!
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is highly experienced in working with employment-based visas, adjustment of status, green cards, and PERM labor certification. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.