The Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C., has issued an advisory warning people to be watchful of suspicious phone calls in which the caller appears to be calling from the Indian embassy.
The embassy said its telephone lines have been spoofed by fraudsters in the U.S. in order to cheat people for money.
“It has been brought to the notice of the embassy that some fraudsters are spoofing Embassy of India telephone lines to make calls aimed at cheating people,” reads the advisory issued by the embassy. “Some of these calls are shown as being from the embassy telephone numbers (202-939-7000) while others simply use embassy identity.”
These fraudsters, it said, “either seek personal information like credit card details etc. or try to extort money from Indian nationals by inter alia claiming that there are errors in their passports, visa forms, and immigration forms,” among others, which could be rectified by paying money, and at the same time warning that the so called errors, “if not rectified, could result in deportation of the individual to India or their imprisonment in the U.S.”
In some cases, explains the embassy, these fraudsters have also falsely claimed that they received such privileged information from the embassy or other authorities in India. Visa applicants, it said, have also received such calls purporting to be from the embassy.
In its advisory, the Indian embassy said that none of its officials make any telephone calls seeking personal information from any Indian or foreign nationals. In case any additional documentation is required from an existing applicant, it is sought only through email(s) originating from the email domain: “@mea.gov.in.”
The embassy has urged the public to not entertain any suspicious telephone calls made in the name of Embassy of India. It also advised people to not reveal any personal information or transfer any money in response to such calls.
Anyone who receives such calls, should bring it to the notice of the embassy at the email id: cons1.washington(at)mea.gov.in, it said.