Indian Americans with the last name of Patel across the country are being targeted in a scam claiming they owe the IRS money, reports ABC7/KGO.
Patels are being called from someone claiming to be from the IRS and demanding they make payments immediately. The con artist speaks in their native language and instructed them to buy reloadable debit cards and then giving him access to it.
One Bay Area couple estimates they lost $16,000 when the scam artist warned them they would face serious consequences if they don’t comply.
“They’re going to take your passport, your citizenship, everything and you can go to jail for 17 months,” said the victim who didn’t want to be identified.
“It’s a trusting community and that’s why when they bring in that guy who speaks Gujarati or an Indian language it trust that becomes more of a factor,” said Bobby Patel, a former Patel Association president.