IRS impersonation scam stymied by thieves loading cards with stolen bank account money. “Once you load that card and burn what’t on that card, there’s really very little potential for tracing,” said anti money laundering expert Dennis Lormel, former chief of the FBI’s financial crimes section. “It’s not like a traditional bank fraud where there’s transactional footprint”. This scenario player out thousands of times across the country for three years. Aided and abetted by a few simple new technologies, what had once been a low rent “boiler room”, scam, with limited reach and regards, had exploded into a massive, multinational conspiracy that netted millions of dollars.
“This is the largest scam of this type we”ve ever seen,” said the AARPs Notziger, whose program operates a national fraud helpline. “Every hour we received calls claiming that someone had just called them>” The scale of the scheme was mind boggling. Scammers stole $61.9 million from 12,469 victims, according to the office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the main body charged with investigating the scheme. However, that number could be much higher–the federal indictment of the five call centers in Ahmadabad, India, and the 56 conspirator cites “hundreds of millions of dollars of victims losses derived from persons located throughout the United States. This IRS impersonation scam stymied by tracing a stolen credit card number.
There were variations on the scam–sometimes callers impersonated U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and threatened deportations unless victims paid up, or they offered loans or prizes requiring a deposit–but since scammers were largely impersonating the agents, the main investigation effort fell to the Treasury Department. Timothy Camus, a recently retired TIGTA deputy inspector general for investigation, played a key role in the investigation. When the newest iteration of the scam first appeared in early 2013, investigators discovered that the sceme had evolved into something bigger and more complex. The combination of a foreign origin the colossal call volume, the unusually high number of victims, and apparent coordination of the fraud, set it apart.