ATLANTA — Federal investigators say they have closed down a server farm that sent out tens of millions of scam calls here in Georgia, and across the country, on behalf of an India-based Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider.
According to U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak, a permanent injunction has been issued against the Florida-based server farm to stop providing services to E Sampark and its director Gaurav Gupta.
A federal complaint says Gupta directed and operated E Sampark to send “tens of millions of scam calls from India into the United States, leading to reported victim losses of over $20 million. The callers purported to be legitimate government agencies and businesses and misled victims over the phone. The callers allegedly used multiple frauds, including Social Security impersonation, IRS impersonation, and loan scams.”
“The defendants bombarded American consumers with scam calls, causing emotional and financial devastation, including to vulnerable and elderly individuals,” Pak said. “Those who facilitate fraudulent calls into the United States will be investigated and brought to justice.”
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As part of the Social Security scam, the federal complaint said the callers would mislead people into believing their Social Security number was involved with a crime and then would threaten to arrest the person if they did not send them money. They would then have the victims send them gift cards as payment.
“In one instance in November 2019, the callers kept a Marietta, Georgia woman on the phone for over eleven hours while they convinced her that her Social Security number had been compromised, that there was a warrant for her arrest in Texas, and that she should tell no one about the purported investigation. The callers told the victim that her assets were going to be frozen and that she should purchase gift cards in order to protect her money. Per the callers' directions, the victim went around Cobb County to purchase over $35,000 in gift cards, including Target, GameStop, Sephora, and Nordstrom gift cards. The callers had the victim provide them with the numbers on the back of the cards, which allowed them to steal the funds from her. E Sampark and Gupta allegedly connected the victim with the fraudsters,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
In the loan scam, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the scammers would convince victims they worked for lending institutions and that the victims were eligible for fake loans. The callers would then direct the victims to pay a fee upfront to show that they could repay the loan. Officials said in some cases the victims would also provide their bank account information and the scammers would make it appear that they had deposited the funds into their bank account.
The permanent injunction that has been issued hopes to prevent E Sampark and Gupta from further victimizing U.S. consumers.
If you believe you may have fallen victim to the alleged scammers, you should report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at www.tips.tigta.gov or by calling 1-800-366-4484.