U.S. authorities say they've foiled a major debt-collecting scam that generated at least 8 million fraudulent calls from India since 2010 and bilked more than 10,000 victims all across the United States.
The Federal Trade Commission's Midwest director made the announcement Tuesday in Chicago.
Steven Baker says it's likely there are many other similar scams where callers pose as debt collectors and threaten victims with arrest if they don't pay. He calls the scam highlighted Tuesday "just the tip of the iceberg."
The owner of a California business is suspected of helping to manage the swindle and a federal judge ordered he halt his operations.
Janlaree Dejulius said scammers stole hundreds from her.
"I fell for it, and I don't think I'm that stupid," she said.
Baker said some victims were so intimidated by threats of arrest they agreed to pay even though they knew they had no debts.
“They were going to arrest me and go to HR and garnish my wages," Dejulius said. "It was intimidating enough that I didn't want to go through that, so I said, 'Yes, I'll pay you.'"
ANLAREE DEJULIUS FEELS ABOUT THE ORCHESTRATORS OF A SCAM THAT STOLE HUNDREDS FROM HER