back to article Police raid India call centre, detain 500 in fraud probe

More than 500 call centre staff have been detained by police in India, after allegedly threatening US citizens and siphoning off their money. The raid was carried out by over 200 Indian police personnel across three separate call centres, according to reports. The operators are alleged to have posed as officials of US Tax …

  1. James O'Shea Silver badge
    Devil

    Silly buggers

    A while back I got a call from someone with a distinct Indian accent who said that he was calling from the IRS, and gave an IRS agent number, and said that I owed $2,531.37 in back taxes, interest, and penalties and that if I didn't pay up immediately over the phone the sheriff would be sending a deputy to arrest me within the hour. I told him to send the deputy, the gators in the canal behind the house look hungry. He hung up. For some reason no deputy showed up. Funny, that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Silly buggers

      'A man with a thick Indian accent just rang up wanting money'

      'Quick, let me grab my credit card and pay him'

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Silly buggers

      Have you checked the canal?

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: Silly buggers

        "Have you checked the canal?"

        We have a fence up. you can't see much in that canal, just occasionally a pair of eyes tracking a dog, usually some snowbird's pet. Those of us who live here year round know that when the ducks refuse to go out on the canal there are gators, and keep our dogs away from the public way behind our back fences.

        It's been my experience that deputies are at least as smart as ducks, and, besides, gators will usually show professional courtesy to something as cold, reptilian, and vicious as the average deputy.

  2. JohnMartin

    Similar Scam in Hong Kong

    I was reading about a similar sounding scam happening in Hong Kong, apparently someone claiming to be from the Chinese police demanding bank details and for deposits to be made into accounts from mainlanders who had emigrated to Hong Kong. People lost thousands.

    At the time I thought ... wow, ex Chinese nationals living in HK must be really scared of the mainland police force for them to do stuff like that.

    Looks like fear of government reprisal is cross cultural even into the "land of the brave and the home of the free" ... it makes you wonder, I thought in a democracy the government was meant to be beholden to it's citizens, not the other way around, clearly I'm deluded.

    1. Kurt Meyer

      Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

      @ JohnMartin

      "Looks like fear of government reprisal is cross cultural even into the "land of the brave and the home of the free"..."

      I don't believe that the scammers success was due as much to a fear of government, as it was due to human stupidity. This "scam" hasn't been given much, if any, notice in the mainstream media here in the US.

      Hong Kong has a mostly Chinese population. The callers were presumably Chinese. The similarity would make the chance of success much greater in my opinion.

      Most Americans, hearing a "foreign" voice on the phone, telling them to part with their money, especially to the IRS, would respond with a stream of invective that would make a sailor blush, before hanging up.

      Stupid people live in every country, and the US certainly has no shortage of them. Scams of every sort find fertile soil here.

      Sadly, xenophobia also grows here as well as anywhere on the planet, and "No raghead motherfucker* better say shit to me!" is a frequently heard phrase. Too frequently heard.

      .

      *The de facto epithet used to describe the people living in an arc that stretches from Morocco to Indonesia. An common alternative is "Sand Nigger".

      Doubly sad is both the inability and the unwillingness to differentiate between peoples of completely different lands, ie, Indians, Persians, Turks, Arabs, Somalis.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

        It's also just like spam in that they only need to bag a very small percentage in order to be profitable. The nice thing about the phone variety is that you can often keep them talking for quite some time before they catch on to the fact that you're only wasting their time so they can't immediately call another potential victim.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

        "This "scam" hasn't been given much, if any, notice in the mainstream media here in the US."

        It has received extensive coverage. You'd have to be blind and deaf not to be aware of this particular scam.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

          True, for those of us that actually read news sites. When one's life is an endless stream of Farcebook, textings, Snapchat, etc... one tends to live in the dark. I can't speak for other countries, but here in the States, most people really haven't a clue as they don't read any kind of in-depth news. Headlines, sound bites, and celeb news is about it.

        2. Kurt Meyer

          Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

          @ Etatdame

          It is more widespread than I thought at first, and so I sit corrected.

          After posting on El Reg earlier today, I went out to look for this story and I have now seen many accounts of the scam posted on various news media's websites.

          I confess that in order to be, and remain, "blind and deaf" to news of the upcoming election here in the US*, I haven't been frequenting any of the major American news organisations of late.

          I enjoy reading the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and France24 among many, many, other English language news sites around the world. I prefer to see news of the United States from the viewpoint of non-US observers of this country.

          .

          * This is in addition to my complete lack of interest in all things Kardashian, "Brangelina", and similar matters.

          1. Eddy Ito Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

            * This is in addition to my complete lack of interest in all things Kardashian, "Brangelina", and similar matters.

            I can understand not wanting to have any part of circus ClinTrump but this is just un-ay-merri-can!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

        I just call them stupid Pakis and they hang up for obvious reasons as they hate being hailed from Pakistan!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

          > I just call them stupid Pakis and they hang up for obvious reasons as they hate being hailed from Pakistan!

          Similarly, i apologised that [due to their very thick accent] I couldn't speak Urdu. That *really* upset the caller!

      4. OffBeatMammal

        Re: Similar Scam in Hong Kong

        Actually, with the rise in off-shoring here in the US and every call center now routing to somewhere in India or the Philippines it's a rarity to actually call and get a genuine American accent. Not saying the US call center does any better of a job, but I'd certainly be more comfortable knowing that access to my financial information is staying within geo-political boundaries

  3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    immediate payment

    one of the victims shelled out $60,000 just to escape a so-called raid on his house by taxmen

    I'm not in any way condoning the activity of these crims, but if somebody ponies up that sort of money on the strength of a phone call, I think thay have a guilty conscience about something that they may or may not have included in their last tax return

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: immediate payment

      Listen can we do $40k cash and the rest in coke?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: immediate payment

        "Listen can we do $40k cash and the rest in coke?"

        Sorry, only got Pepsi here :-)

    2. LDS Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: immediate payment

      IMHO the IRS should hire those people, and make the call those who are on the tax evader list...

    3. muddysteve

      Re: immediate payment

      Oh yes. I bet the IRS would love the list of victims/people who would rather pay up than have a visit from the taxman.

    4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: immediate payment

      Part of the push is to panic a person into making a rash mistake. The TaxMan is much nastier than your average loan shark when it comes to shaking people done. Also, the unreasonable complexity of the US income tax does make for a believable scenario that one actually owes money. So hit someone who is bit dim with a threat of an imminent police raid and you might get their money.

      There is one red flag that this is a scam. The local sheriff does not normally handle federal only warrants. This would more likely be the US Marshals or the donut eaters of the FBI as the IRS would be filing federal only charges.

    5. Tom Melly

      Re: immediate payment

      Well, quite. Why would you shell out unless you knew you had dodged tax? I wonder which country's economy the money ends up in?

      Unpaid tax recovery + foreign aid - the middle-man = Success!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "one of the victims shelled out"

    Tell me one was Trump...please.

    This is going to be great, really great, really really great...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spot the clues...

    * There's always a slight pause before they start talking.

    * There's a non-European voice on the other end. A European voice will get you an extra 5-10 seconds of my time.

    * They often start with, "Am I speaking with Mr er...Fr..Fred...err...Smith? Hello sir, I am from XYZ...".

    * And as my manager, a native from Madras infomed me, the biggest clue is when someone with an Indian accent says they're name is something like John, Harold or Doris. "Come on, stop wasting my bloody time! I'm from India myself, so if you want me to trust you then you better stop wasting my time by lying to me. You have 5 seconds to tell me your real name!"

    Personally I calmly walk over to my call blocking box, hit the little button that records the number and cuts them off forever!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spot the clues...

      "the biggest clue is when someone with an Indian accent says" ...

      Anything.

      I hate profiling but it is virtually guaranteed that if someone is phoning me and has an Indian accent it is a scam call.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Spot the clues...

        Yes, there are some here who seem to think (see at least one post above) that we shouldn't do this as it makes us racist bigots. It isn't bigotry, it's self-preservation of sanity, time, and money.

        FTR, I don't lump them all into one country/area/religion. I try to target my abuse at them.

    2. ICPurvis47

      Re: Spot the clues...

      My name is Iain, the Scottish spelling, and that always stumps them, they ask for Lain, whoever that might be. Actually, it's not restricted to Indian call centres, either, I had a call from someone the other day, and when I challenged them and asked where they were physically located, they said Alabama. Oops!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    scammer's paradise

    india + china must be nuked ASAP

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: scammer's paradise

      You Sir, are Donald Trump, and I claim my $50.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: scammer's paradise

      Hey is that you Georgia Guidestones?

  7. Jason 24

    500 seats...

    Is not a small operation, I'm wondering if these people knew full well they were making fraudulent phone calls, or if the bosses have hoodwinked them all into believing they have been contracted by the IRS to make these calls?

    Also, how scared are US citizens of the tax man to pay up like this?

    1. 404 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: 500 seats...

      The IRS has been weaponized over the past 8 years and they will come and take your shit. Even the USPS has SWAT teams for unpaid postage...

    2. Peter X

      Re: 500 seats...

      I don't feel entirely sorry for them because they must've realised this wasn't a legit call-centre gig. But at the same time, I doubt they made much money at it.

      Even if we assumed the the revenue was split equally, 125K into 500 = £250 per day. A good rate for a call-centre job and I imagine especially so in India, except....

      Elsewhere I read that the call centre got 70% of the revenue and parties in the US supplying the data got 30%. And there's no way the people on the phone were making the bulk of the money anyway... so... probably not worth risking being at the wrong end of a fraud probe for that really.

      1. midcapwarrior

        Re: 500 seats...

        The people who set up the call center make nearly all the money.

        The guy on the end of the line is getting peanuts.

        It's classic boiler room.

        Open it quickly, close quickly and move on

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: 500 seats...

        "parties in the US supplying the data got 30%"

        AIUI the list of tax defaulters was downloadable direct from the IRS.

        If people were being paid it must have been for locating 'em - which means the IRS has been missing out on some easy collections.

        The part that I really don't get is that Indian police were having trouble contacting counterparts at the IRS or FBI. This means that the investigation was kicked off locally for whatever reason. Is call centre fraud finally being taken seriously or did this start out as an investigation into theft of telco services?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 500 seats...

          "This means that the investigation was kicked off locally for whatever reason. Is call centre fraud finally being taken seriously or did this start out as an investigation into theft of telco services?"

          More likely the call centre missed a bribe payment.

    3. Captain DaFt

      Re: 500 seats...

      "Also, how scared are US citizens of the tax man to pay up like this?"

      Very.

      Even Death is no guarantee they won't come after you.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 500 seats...

      I get at a minimum from different numbers 10 calls per week from this idiots. Sometimes I play along, Their information is outdated and incorrect. One had an address that was four houses ago.

      Bunch of useless Indians - maybe Hillary will send a drone over there ;-)

  8. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well, if gov'ts around the world stopped collecting income tax then these fraudsters would be out of a job. Just thinking out aloud :-)

    1. Nolveys Silver badge

      Well, if gov'ts around the world stopped collecting income tax then these fraudsters would be out of a job.

      Don't worry, income tax is just a temporary measure until after the war.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        ... and will only ever be collected from the1%ers.

        1. 404 Silver badge

          goes for toll roads/bridges too - my Dad told me about a bridge/toll road was sold to the citizens of Cleveland, Ohio waaaay back in the 60's. They were told the toll would end when the bridge was paid for in the 70's and to this day are still paying tolls for that fucking bridge.

          Government never lets go of revenue streams once created. Ever.

          1. Mark 85 Silver badge

            I can't find who said it first but they are right: "There's no such thing as a temporary tax."

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "They were told the toll would end when the bridge was paid for in the 70's and to this day are still paying tolls for that fucking bridge."

            No need to go to Cleveland. The Dartford crossing is the exact same scenario.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            True in Illinois as well - see Chicago Skyway as just one of many examples.

          4. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

            "Government never lets go of revenue streams once created. Ever." - Georgia must have some daft politicians. There was a major toll road in metro Atlanta (GA 400) and the toll booths have been permanently removed a few years back.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Government never lets go of revenue streams once created. Ever."

            I've seen it, once.

            http://www.myajc.com/news/transportation/400-tolls-end-friday/w7SpiPdt8x1GR9BsQ8vFPP/

            Not saying it didn't go kicking and screaming, two years late, and then only after nearly causing the loss of even larger pet projects....

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

    ...I put the phone down without hanging up and walk away...

    1. Richie Hindle

      Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

      Absolutely - put the phone gently aside and let them talk to no-one. The more time they spend talking to the air, the longer it is before they call their next victim.

      Unless I'm super-busy, I'll invest a couple of seconds into an encouraging response, so that they launch into the main part of their pitch rather than quickly realising that I'm not there any more. It's a matter of maximising the ratio of their-time-wasted to my-time-spent.

      (The conversation usually starts with "Hello, am I speaking with Mrs Hindle?" / "Yes, speaking." A genuine caller might spot a problem with my masculine tones, but these callers never do.)

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

        "Hello, am I speaking to [insert name here]?"

        "Meow?"*

        * Accent of the meow in question dependant upon which cat is near the phone at the time.

        1. Richie Hindle

          Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

          If I have time to spare, and/or I want to entertain my 10-year-old son, I'll adopt the Yuur Strategy, which can sometimes keep the conversation going for quite some time:

          Hello, am I speaking with Mrs Hindle?

          Yuur.

          Hello Mrs Hindle, my name is Bob and I am calling from Optimise Your Energy Bills Limited.

          Yuur.

          Can I ask, do you currently have a Direct Debit with your energy provider?

          Yuur.

          And which energy provider are you with?

          Yuur.

          I'm sorry?

          Yuur.

          Did you say "Eon"?

          Yuur.

          And how much per month are you paying to Eon?

          Yuur.

          ...it goes downhill eventually, but every second they spend is a second not spent talking to anyone gullible enough to fall for their scam.

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

            Ours goes like this:

            Can I speak to Peter 404?

            Sure which one? I have four Peter 404s and one is dead. Which one do you want?

            ....ummmm

            Ok, when you figure out which one you want to speak to, you call us right back ok?

            ....Yes... Thank you?.....

            <click>

            Edited to say: Works on bill collectors too ;)

        2. Anonymous Blowhard

          Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

          "Hello, am I speaking to [insert name here]?"

          You sound familiar; didn't you used to work for Microsoft Support?

      2. T-Bo
        Trollface

        Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

        Agreed ... trolling them can be quite fun, provided you don't have better things to do at the moment. The sillier the better. The longer you engage them, the less effective they are overall.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

        "Absolutely - put the phone gently aside and let them talk to no-one. "

        I used to have a coworker who lived for these calls.

        He'd record the call while he played the person on the other end of the line: almost commit, back off, be slowly reeled in again...

        He would play them back to us for entertainment - hey, is that legal?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

        The conversation usually starts with "Hello, am I speaking with Mrs Hindle?"

        Memories of a mail order catalogue who assumed that because I had bought a house, there was automatically a Mrs living there as well.

        They were never ever going to get any custom from me.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

      "I put the phone down without hanging up and walk away"

      But first say "could you hold the line a moment".

      1. Nolveys Silver badge

        Re: Hello, my name is [Anglicised], I'm calling from [major corporation/department]

        "Hello, is this Mr. Chrendelschmutz?"

        "He's out back, I'll go get him."

        (Time passes)

        "He wasn't out back, I'll check out front."

        "Thank you."

        (Time passes)

        "He wasn't out front, I'll check upstairs.

        "NO, WAI..."

        (Time passes)...

  10. Magani
    Joke

    Cost effective?

    If it's (allegedly) earning £125K per day from 500 workers, according to my steam-powered abacus that works out at about £250 per day per call centre employee. I know Indian wages are a bit lower than 1st world countries, but given the overheads, I'd have to say their incentive schemes aren't working very well.

    Time to employ the old saying - "The beatings will continue until morale revenues improve"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cost effective?

      They probably get paid about £10 a day, but spun carefully 'Worked for a major international company leveraging revenue enhancement opportunities through people focused marketing' might look OK on a CV. Sadly it's the poor sap desperate for a white collar job who will end up paying, the profits will be long gone into a nice Mayfair flat or two.

  11. TDog

    Security Services

    I tend to talk for about 2 minutes - then ask how they got hold of a private number for MI5, MI6 or whatever. Explain that they have been on the phone long enough for the call to have been traced and that some of our colleagues from the SAS will be paying them a visit...

    Works quite well usually.

  12. Frank Zuiderduin

    How can a scam like this even work?

    Am I to believe that raiding people's houses because of owed taxes is actually a real practice over there? Out of the blue? No prior court case or even a letter? Really?

    If it isn't, why do people even fall for this kind of scam? Boggles the mind...

    1. Kurt Meyer

      Re: How can a scam like this even work?

      @ Frank Zuiderduin

      "Am I to believe that raiding people's houses because of owed taxes is actually a real practice over there? Out of the blue? No prior court case or even a letter? Really?"

      No Frank, it is not a common practice in the US for ordinary citizens to have their home raided by the IRS.

      Any contact initiated by the Internal Revenue Service will be by a letter requesting you to call them to schedule a meeting to discuss your taxes. You may ignore the letter if you wish.

      More letters will follow as surely as night follows day. You may ignore the letters if you wish.

      Sooner or later, a letter will arrive announcing that a court date has been set to hear the matter of "you vs. The United States Internal Revenue Service." You may ignore the letter if you wish.

      Eventually, a letter will arrive to inform you that a judgement has been made and that you owe some large amount of taxes, payable immediately. You may ignore the letter if you wish.

      Finally, two things will happen.

      First, you will get a polite but insistant knock on your front door and open it to find the local sheriff's deputies and the IRS, there to seize your worldly goods to satisfy your tax liabilities,

      And second, you will wish to Fucking Christ that you hadn't ignored those letters.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How can a scam like this even work?

        Shame we don't apply that methodology to Amazon, Facebook and google.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How can a scam like this even work?

      In the US, if you are found to have a large amount of money on your person, and they don't think your explanation is convincing: They can confiscate it on the spot. No charges, no court case, no legal follow up needed and good luck ever getting it back.

      Keep that in mind if you carry cash in airports.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: How can a scam like this even work?

        Does 'I need it to buy Epi-pens' count as a reasonable explanation?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How can a scam like this even work?

          Epi-Pens, plural?

          Nah that much cash IS suspicious.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: How can a scam like this even work?

      The scam works because many have a deathly fear of the IRS and secondly they do not know the IRS' procedures about collecting back taxes. The scammers are counting on finding enough people who panic at the words IRS and owe money in a phone call.

      All shakedown scams require is someone's ignorance of procedure or how something works coupled with an inordinate fear of something bad will happen right now if they do not fork over some money.

  13. Richard Hewitt

    Windows Security Department

    If only they could close the call centre that says they are from the Windows Security Department. There must be hundreds of them working there.

  14. Walter Bishop Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Indian call centre staff and US tax payers

    "More than 500 call centre staff have been detained by police in India, after allegedly threatening US citizen"

    Didn't the Indian accent give them away?

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Indian call centre staff and US tax payers

      "Didn't the Indian accent give them away?"

      Not in the US - most 'mericans can't tell an Indian accent from a Hispanic accent - and since just about all US call centers have moved overseas it wouldn't be particularly suspicious to most people - the Trumpanzees would fall for it all the time since that's exact how they believe that the government operates.

  15. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    Anybody still trust an unsolicited call from and Indian call centre and big business still too stupid to realise the answer ?

  16. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    A friend of ours who has spent the last four years on arsebook wailing that "Obama's coming for our guns!" (She doesn't own a gun and never has) was just taken to the cleaners when she allowed some Indian chap remote access to her computer. ID theft, monetary loss, computer borked.

    I just shook my head and said "if only she'd been as worried about the real conspiracies out there as she was about the stupid made-up ones".

    And yes, she is not a metalurgist and has made no effort to edicate herself on the properties of steel and burning jet-a but has solid (ie arsebook says) evidence the World Trade Towers were sabotaged from inside.

    1. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Bah!

      >>no effort to edicate

      Neither have you!

      P.S. have you seen the video where molten steel is pouring out of the corner of the tower?

      http://www.ae911truth.org/

      1. Stevie Silver badge

        Re: Neither have you

        Ah Mystic Megabyte, how clever of you to conflate a typo made using the soft keyboard of an iPad used on a rocking train c/w intermittent net connnection with a willful disregard of facts in evidence. I bow to your mastery of the form.

        I don't need to see "videos" and I don't need to read any more offensive uneducated conspiracy nutjob accounts of why the towers fell.

        I had been a regualr visitor to the observation deck of WTC2 since July of 1984 and read carefully how the building was made. There was a wealth of material about it actually on the central pillar of the observation deck including plans and pictures. I found the construction a fascinating achievement.

        Oh, and I worked about two miles from the towers, in a building now occupied by the chocolate factory.

        Oh, and that was a work day. I caught a clear veiw of the towers after the first hit as the LIRR train passed through Harold Junction. The second hit occurred while I was in the East River tunnel.

        Oh, and we had windows in our building that faced WTC 1 and 2. I didn't watch to the end because I had read the accounts of the Shirtwaist Factory fire and knew what was about to go down.

        So fuck you and your "I'm not an engineer but I play one in real life" conspiracy videos.

        1. John PM Chappell

          Re: Neither have you

          @Stevie - if only I could upvote you more.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bah!

        Molten Steel or molten Aluminium?

        IIRC Al melts at 660°C and there is a fair amount of the latter in your average commercial jet aircraft and jet fuel's maximum in air temp increase while burning is around 1000°C...

        If said flow occurred isn't it more likely to be a large puddle of melted Al rather than all the structural steel melting, pouring out of the columns and floors and pooling in one corner, IMO anyway.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bah!

      " evidence the World Trade Towers were sabotaged from inside."

      Well, the jets WERE inside the buildings at that point.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Bah!

      "but has solid (ie arsebook says) evidence the World Trade Towers were sabotaged from inside."

      If you know how the buildings were designed the amazing thing is that they stood for so long after the impacts.

      The design goal was for them to collapse pretty much immediately if hit by a fully fuelled 707 taking off from one of the nearby airports(*) but confine the collapse within the tower structure (pancaking, not toppling.). Burning jet fuel didn't even enter the architects' minds - the structure's fireproofing was intended for conventional fires.

      (*) The Empire State Building was hit by a B29 in heavy fog, so there was precedent for this concern.

      That said: There was a 9/11 conspiracy alright but it didn't start until _after_ the events. These kinds of conspiracies are aimed at covering up how badly things were handled so that people in high places can keep their jobs.

      1. James O'Shea Silver badge

        Re: Bah!

        "(*) The Empire State Building was hit by a B29 in heavy fog, so there was precedent for this concern."

        The Empire State was hit by a B-25, not a B-29. There's a substantial difference.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sure, come on over ...

    ... we're just leaving. Bring your decontamination suit, there's a lot of blood on the floor and walls but we got the safe combination after an hour or two - I'm not sure that they will be able to write a cheque, his fingers are pretty mashed up.

  18. Dexter

    It's not the poor buggers working in the call centre they should arrest.

    It's the people who set the call centre up.

  19. Haku
    Flame

    "Hello, I am calling from Microsoft..."

    The fuck you are!

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: "Hello, I am calling from Microsoft..."

      "The fuck you are!"

      I heard Satya Nadella gets this all the time...

  20. Noonoot

    Where is the money going?

    Ahh so that is what turbans were made for.

  21. Alister Silver badge

    The headline image

    ...must be quite confusing for millennials, "what, I have to stick my finger in a different hole for each number, and then drag it round?"

    A Tele 706, ahh, the nostalgia...

  22. mark 120

    "Good afternon, Telephone Preference Service, how can I help you?"

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Try "Good afternoon, CIA Drone Control Van #7. How can help you?"

  23. Flip

    Recently in Canada

    A new Canadian was targeted in a tax scam and was convinced enough to purchase $3,900.00 in iThing gift cards.

    Luckily she realized after second thoughts that she was being scammed, so did not mail the cards. It took a while, but the drugstore reimbursed her for the iThing purchase.

    In another story, the same thing happened to a senior citizen, but the drugstore clerk knew enough about the scam to question the purchase of such a large dollar amount of gift cards, and convinced the senior to contact Revenue Canada to verify that she was not in arrears.

    This scam has been going on for at least a couple of years in Canada.

  24. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Stop

    bad

    In the UK a couple of years back I got a call from an real Englishwoman who said that she was from the Inland Revenue. She wanted "for security reasons" my date of birth. I replied that I only responded to letters. She then said that she would have to note that I had refused to answer. I said that was OK by me and hung up.

    These people should be severely punished.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: bad

      "I said that was OK by me and hung up."

      It's a pity you didn't keep her on the line and wind her up a little. These scammers tend to be rather short fused (which is entertaining) and it stops them bothering other people (which reduces their productivity)

  25. Speltier

    Hmmm. Try to subvert them.

    Well, if the caller is only paid maybe 10 a day, then offer to transfer to their phone a 15 if they hand over their boss. At the very least, you would get their phone number or someone related to them-- and they already know who you are so it doesn't matter that the transferring number is known.

    Of course, it only works once. After that, every caller will be looking for a 15 to fork some stranger identified as their "boss"...

  26. JustNiz

    In my opinion, this is just another example of natural selection in action.

    Since we've already pretty much removed all the risk of accidental death from modern life. mother nature has had to get creative to continue to prevent the most extremely stupid people from succeeding/breeding. I'm pleased to see she can still succeed at least on some level.

  27. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Mainly the guilty-minded were scammed?

    Most people would smell a rat as soon as someone told them to pay money that they had no reason to believe they owed. However if a person has been involved in something a bit shady (e.g. working a cash-in-hand job or selling stuff via a market stall without paying the VAT), then such a call would be half-expected rather than immediately being dismissed as a scam or a mistake, and the person may well believe that they had been found out and will be prosecuted if they don't cough up immediately.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Mainly the guilty-minded were scammed?

      "Most people would smell a rat as soon as someone told them to pay money that they had no reason to believe they owed. "

      In this particular case the scammers were working a published list of IRS defaulters, so yes they DID owe money

      It's much easier to scam someone if they're already semi-expecting a call.

  28. Michael Wood 1
    Devil

    This has almost become a contest in my house

    I'm from the US. When the house phone rings and a strange CID is displayed the kids and I take turns answering it, see who can get the best reaction from the caller. We've had many calls from the "IRS" and various other people claiming to be collecting back taxes, from Microsoft, from folks wanting to sell us on the super/magic powers of solar, etc. We have a great time with'em. One IRS scammer, instead of hanging up, asked me if I really wanted them to send out their agents. I told 'em; "Sure, send'em over, I'll brew up some coffee." They hung up.

    My wife is Chinese and she usually seems to be the target of these phone scams. My last call from one of these jokers went like this :

    <Phone Rings, strange CID>

    Me : "Hello?"

    <Pause, of course>

    Caller : "May I speak to [stumbling over and eventually mangling the pronunciation of wife's name]?"

    Me : "No"

    <Long pause... click>

    For future reference I'm going to ask my Indian coworker how to say "fuck you". Then when they call and ask for "Mr. Smith" I can tell them that my name is spelled "Smith", but it's pronounced "Fuck you".

    It's the little pleasures in life...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This has almost become a contest in my house

      Hah, I'll tell you exactly what to do!

      Tell them your name is Terrance Micheal Bencho, but you prefer to go by Terry Mikey Bencho.

      Pronounce em like so:

      Terry -> TAY-ri

      Mikey -> MAA-key

      Bencho - BENCH-o

      Roughly translated, you're telling them to perform unspeakable acts with their mother and their sister. Say it smoothly enough and it sounds plausible.. Bencho is a real last name, and if you choose to pronounce your first and middle names in a certain way, who's to say you're wrong??

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: This has almost become a contest in my house

      > For future reference I'm going to ask my Indian coworker how to say "fuck you".

      A far better insult in Hindi translates to "I hope you have many children - all of them girls"

  29. Frank N. Stein

    Really??

    Anyone getting a phone call from an East Indian from a Call Center, should know that no IRS office is going to call and demand bank details over the phone. Especially, not by someone who barely speak English.

    1. Patched Out
      Facepalm

      Re: Really??

      You don't understand. The way our U.S. government has been going in the last decade or so, it would not surprise me at all if the IRS outsourced their bill collection to India ... and the DoD security clearance investigations to China or Russia, since they already have all of our information from the OPM data breach already.

      Just saying.

  30. Frank N. Stein

    No

    You don't understand that only a complete idiot gives out their bank details over the phone to anyone from India, claiming to be with the US IRS. I don't give my bank details to people I know. I SURE AS HELL, wouldn't give my bank details to someone on the phone with an East Indian accent. Claiming to be from the IRS.

  31. Frank N. Stein

    No

    You don't understand that only a complete idiot gives out their bank details over the phone to anyone from India, claiming to be with the US IRS. I don't give my bank details to people I know. I SURE AS heck, wouldn't give my bank details to someone on the phone with an East Indian accent. Claiming to be from the IRS.

  32. Frank N. Stein

    No

    You don't understand that only a complete idiot gives out their bank details over the phone to anyone from India, claiming to be with the US IRS. I don't give my bank details to people I know. I wouldn't give my bank details to someone on the phone with an East Indian accent. Claiming to be from the IRS.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No

    You don't understand that only a complete idiot gives out their bank details over the phone to anyone from India, claiming to be with the US IRS. I don't give my bank details to people I know. I wouldn't give my bank details to someone on the phone with an East Indian accent. Claiming to be from the IRS.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: No

      You AC are Frank N. Stein and I claim my five pounds.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: No

        I'm wondering about the "complete idiot" statement now.... I guess 1 post wasn't enough to get the point across.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No

      Frank? That you?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No

      I, for one, will NOT mock your stutter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: No

        "I, for one, will NOT mock your stutter."

        Thank you, morning stomach exercises completed.

  34. Securitymoose

    I'm glad I live in the UK

    Our tax people are lovely here, and would never do that.

    Also they are so good to foreign organisations - just ask Amazon, Google, Apple etc.

    I can imagine if an eastern person rang up pretending to by HMRC and asked for money... by the end of the call they would be sending it to us instead (I think it's the accent).

  35. Herby Silver badge

    I've always wondered...

    What happens if you call the IRS scammers and ask for "Technical support for Windows computers"?

    That might be an interesting call. Of course the opposite (Calling the tech support bozos and asking for the IRS) might be just as funny.

    I'll await the you-tube recording.

  36. Andromeda451

    feds don't call ahead...

    I received a call, a British sounding male told me the FBI was on their way to arrest me for back taxes. He could "call them off" IF I gave him a CC # and other info. I told him the FEDS never phone ahead...

    BTW no offense on Brits intended :-)

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