U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) lauded the recent announcement that 56 individuals and five India-based call centers had been arrested and indicted for impersonating government officials in scams targeting American seniors.
The arrests were the culmination of a three-year investigation spanning multiple federal agencies. It was the largest single domestic law enforcement action against Internal Revenue Service impersonation scams at one time.
Collins, the chairwoman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), the ranking member of the committee, have led bipartisan efforts to highlight scams targeting seniors and to provoke a strong response from federal law enforcement agencies.
“Putting a stop to aggressive and ruthless scams such as the IRS impersonation scam has long been one of my highest priorities as chairman of the Senate Aging Committee,” Collins said. “I applaud the efforts of our law enforcement in making these significant arrests, which represents the largest single domestic law enforcement action ever involving the IRS scam.”
Collins and McCaskill convened a hearing in April that looked at IRS impersonation scams and the steps law enforcement agencies have taken to stop them.
“I am pleased that the Aging Committee’s work to raise awareness about these troubling scams continues to help the Department of Justice track down criminals who are intent on robbing Americans of their hard-earned money,” Collins said. “These arrests should also put criminals on notice that we will be relentlessly pursuing these perpetrators.”
The committee’s fraud hotline received more than 1,100 calls from seniors across the country in 2015, and the IRS impersonation scam was among the most commonly reported.
Seniors lose about $2.9 billion to financial abuse and fraud each year, according to the Government Accountability Office.