The top scam reported to the Better Business Bureau is the tax scam (also known as the IRS scam), which has accounted for about one in four reports to BBB Scam Tracker during its first year of operation. But BBB has seen a dramatic drop in new reports on this scam since police in Mumbai, India, raided a call center earlier this month.
The tax scam involves call center con artists posing as IRS agents in the U.S. and Canadian Revenue agents in Canada. They threaten their targets with financial penalties, lawsuits, and even arrest if they don’t pay the back taxes they supposedly owe. In a typical week, BBB Scam Tracker receives approximately 200 reports on tax scams. That number has dropped to just 11 reports of this scam in the past week, nearly a 95% decline.
[Go to bbb.org/taxscam for BBB’s tips and a recording of a tax scam robocall]
“We are delighted with this news,” said Mary E. Power, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which manages BBB Scam Tracker with support from local BBBs across North America. “We appreciate the efforts of the Mumbai police and the law enforcement agencies they worked with to close down this operation that has cost American and Canadian consumers millions of dollars.”
“To immediately see the success of this raid reflected in our BBB Scam Tracker data is really remarkable, and validates our belief in the importance of using reports from the public to better understand the scam landscape” notes Emma Fletcher, manager of BBB Scam Tracker. “But we know from past experience that scammers are opportunists. Hopefully this crew won’t be stealing from anyone again for a long while. But we will be keeping an eye on incoming scam reports so we can alert consumers what the ‘next big thing’ in scams turns out to be.”
According to news reports, there were 770 employees working at the Mumbai call center when the midnight raid was conducted; 70 were charged with fraud and other crimes as a result of the raid.