Fraudsters Spoof Phone Lines of Indian Embassy in U.S. to Make Fake Calls
The fraudsters impersonate Indian embassy officials and try to trick people for money.
The telephone lines of the Indian embassy in the United States have been spoofed by fraudsters to make phone calls, with an aim to cheat people, an advisory issued by the embassy of India in Washington DC said. According to the advisory, some of these calls are shown as being from the telephone numbers of the embassy, while others simply use embassy identity.
“These fraudsters either seek personal information like credit card details etc. or try to extort money from Indian nationals by inter alia claiming that there are errors in their passports, visa forms, immigration forms etc.,” the advisory stated. The fraudsters impersonating the Indian embassy officials claim that the error could be rectified by paying money, and at the same time warn that the so-called errors, if not rectified, could lead to deportation of the individual to India or their imprisonment in the United States.
The issue was brought to the notice of the embassy by some Indian nationals in the United States who had received such a phone call.
“In some cases, these fraudsters have also falsely claimed that they received such privileged information from the embassy or other authorities in India. Visa applicants have also received such calls purporting to be from the embassy,” the statement added.
The advisory cautioned people against entertaining any suspicious telephone calls made in the name of the Indian embassy. It has also advised them against revealing any personal information or transfer any money in response to such calls. “They may bring such matters to the notice of the embassy at the email address cons1.washington[at]mea.gov.in.,” specified the advisory.
The statement from the embassy said that no officials from the embassy would make any telephone calls seeking personal information from any Indian or foreign nationals. It stated that if any additional documentation is required from an existing applicant, it is sought only through emails originating from the e-mail domain @mea.gov.in.
The Indian embassy has started collecting data from the public, which includes details of the Western Union account number or details of the bank account where the amount was transferred. It has also informed the U.S. Government about the fraudulent telephone calls and launched its own internal investigation, reported PTI.
It has also asked people willing to share information on spoofed phone calls to fill a form available on the embassy’s website and send it through an e-mail with a subject “information on spoofed calls.”
In a similar incident in February, Action Fraud, the fraud and cyber-crime reporting center in United Kingdom, issued an alert against scamsters who claim to be from the Home Office and call victims saying there is a problem with their immigration status. The main aim of these hoax calls is to swindle money from the victims.
In December last year, Indian embassies in Canada, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal had also issued public notices against fraud calls that display their landline number. The callers usually asked people who have legally migrated to the country to transfer a sum of money citing some reason or the other.