Last December I told you about police in New Delhi, India arresting more than fifty people operating a criminal call center from which they would make calls around the world scamming people into paying money under various pretenses.  According to the New Delhi police more than 4,500 Americans were victimized by these scams losing more than 14 million dollars during the two years the criminal call ring was in operation.  The criminal callers would phone people in the United States and tell them that their bank account information had been found by American law enforcement officials investigating illegal drug cartels in Mexico and Columbia and that, as result, their assets and bank accounts were being seized by the U.S. government.  However, the criminal callers, posing as American law enforcement officials would then give their targeted victims a chance to avoid arrest and choose what they referred to as an alternative dispute resolution option by which they could avoid charges and get their bank accounts and other assets returned if they paid a fine through Bitcoins or Google gift cards.  Obviously this is a scam.  The callers are impostors and no such bank account information was found by law enforcement investigators.  Unfortunately, the callers are convincing and thousands of people have fallen for this scam. It is not a surprise that this scam originated in India because India has long been a world center for both legal customer support and call centers as well as illegal call centers perpetrating scams such as this.

Now, police in India arrested sixty-five people operating call centers in India that called Americans posing as government officials with various government agencies such as the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).  The calls started with a pre-recorded robocall in which the targeted victims were told their Social Security numbers would be suspended for various fictional violations unless they paid a fine through gift cards.


As I have often reminded you, even if your Caller ID indicates that a call you are receiving is from a legitimate source such as the FBI or IRS, your Caller ID can be manipulated through a technique called “spoofing” to appear to read whatever name or telephone number the scammer wishes to use.  Therefore you cannot trust your Caller ID to let you know who really is calling you.    The new Shaken/Stir protocol mandated for phone service providers that will identify spoofed calls only works against domestic calls and even then it is not 100% effective and it doesn’t work against calls made from India or some other foreign country.

No government agency is going to call you and threaten you with arrest unless you pay a fine over the phone and no government agency or law enforcement agency demands or accepts payment in Bitcoins and gift cards.  Anytime you are asked to make a payment for something by way of a gift card, you can be sure that it is a scam because gift card payments are a favorite of scammers due to gift cards being easy to convert into cash and avoid detection.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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