WASHINGTON: Indian call centers continue to be the source of various frauds, the US government told lawmakers today and said American officials were training Indian law enforcement agencies to act against the fraudsters.
Lois C Greisman, Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, at US Federal Trade Commission in her testimony before Senate Judiciary Committee said certain types of scams are more likely to impact older Americans, such as prize promotion and lottery schemes and imposter schemes purporting to provide technical support to “fix” non-existent computer problems.
Listing out various areas of concerns, Greisman listed fraud calls originating from India as one of them.
“Another area of international concern involves Indian call centres, which like their Jamaican counterparts, continue to be the source of various imposter frauds that have reached consumers throughout the English-speaking world,” she said.
“In addition to our enforcement cases, the FTC has organised three stakeholder meetings, including two in India, to develop a coordinated and multi-pronged approach to this threat,” she said.
The most recent event, held this May in Washington DC, included representatives from several major technology companies, the US, Canadian and UK law enforcement, the Indian call centre industry group and Indian government officials, Greisman said.
“One result of this collaboration is a four-city law enforcement training in India this summer, in which the FTC is participating, aimed at developing Indian law enforcement’s capacity to arrest and prosecute the India-based individuals who perpetrate these frauds,” she said.
The FTC will also continue to develop cross-border initiatives with our sister enforcement agencies in Canada and the United Kingdom, Greisman told lawmakers.
Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said criminals have found deceptive ways to “set the hook” on a particular victim and then return for more. One study found that seniors who had been scammed out of just USD 20 ended up losing an additional USD 2,000 to other scams over the next five years.
“But the most devastating impact of these crimes goes beyond seniors’ bank accounts. Victims of financial exploitation can experience loss of independence, deteriorated health and psychological distress-all of which diminish the quality of life,” Grassley said.
“In my home state of Iowa, we’re hearing more and more about sweetheart scams, where fraudsters cultivate a romantic relationship with a lonely elder-typically online-and then convince the senior to part with his or her hard earned money,” he said.