I hate, really really hate, the scam phone calls I get every day. It’s not the worst situation in the world going on right now, but amounts to around $547+ million annually scammed out of vulnerable citizens of the United States. That’s about $1,500,000/day, around $62,000 every hour, of every single day of the year, mostly flowing into known criminal enterprise call centers in known locations. These criminal organizations are often centered in India because Indians speak English. We know their exact locations because that's just how computers and these scams work. If the scammers attempt to disguise themselves electronically, following the money works every time in these scenarios.
Phone scammers prey upon exposed and woundable Americans, mainly senior citizens, but only because they can. There is absolutely no reason for these scams to be ongoing. We could stop it all, immediately, but apparently we haven’t the will.
A YouTube channel named Scammer Payback turns the tables on the scammers by entering their systems, copying their files, and providing the scammers’ locations and account numbers to authorities. But, they persist, and they are enabled by our own telecommunications companies and permitted to exist by our own national security services.
Scammer Payback has saved several vulnerable Americans from losing large amounts of money, sometimes amounting to a life’s savings. They have summoned local police, federal agents and other detectives and inspectors, to intercept boxes of cash folks are sending to India through American front locations and American confederates. The criminal centers remain open though, and continue to scam some Americans out of serious money, and annoy many more with bogus offers of extended warranties, discounts on electricity, technical support for your computers, and supposedly alarming alerts to your personal account activities such as non-existent large purchases made in your name, which are nothing more than fishing expeditions into Americans' personal information and bank accounts, your information.
No one can tell me that the NSA couldn’t screw these scammers up for good, and with very little effort, relatively speaking. We ruined centrifuges in Iraq from afar, and found Osama Bin Laden, for goodness’ sake, you can’t tell me that a small dedicated group of NSA hackers couldn’t ruin their computers, take their ill-gotten resources, and have them put in jail; after all there is a punishment on the books for scamming in India. The maximum punishment for frauds in India range up to 10 years and a fine which shall not be less than the amount involved in the fraud but may extend to three times the amount involved in fraud.
We simply have to provide their activities and addresses to Indian authorities, and if the authorities will not do anything because of political will or bribery, we could involve Interpol or take other more-aggressive action. At the minimum, when one of these criminal enterprises begins preying on Americans we should wipe out their computers and then attach any and all accounts associated therewith for repayment to victims. That’s doable and easy.
So, there are ways to stop the scam calls and ways to punish the scammers in ways sufficient to deter further scamming: Let’s do it.
Warren D. Tochterman, Esq. lives in Bensalem.
This article originally appeared on The Intelligencer: Why aren't we willing to stop phone scammers?