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The Real Deal: Inside the Mind of a Scammer, Part 2
ALBANY - Federal Investigators are now looking into an international crime ring that a CBS6 Investigation uncovered this week. A scammer in Ahmadabad, India, contacted CBS6 Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke several weeks ago describing the scam he and the people he works for run against unsuspecting Americans. Since then, he has provided a number of documents containing the personal information of thousands of Americans, many from right here in New York, which has been used illegally to steal identities. Lewke took that information to the FBI in Albany who now says it will launch its own investigation into the operation.
From half-a-world away, the scammer, who we're calling Nadir, explained how he and the people he worked for pulled off the scam. He says they bought the personal information of those looking for payday loans and then called the victims and told them before the loan could be processed, they would need to provide a down payment on a preloaded debit card, "once they give us that 14 digit number off the green dot card, the money is gone," Nadir says. But that wasn't even the worst of it, "the details are used for hacking their bank accounts, once we have those, we activate fake cards on the same details," he adds.
To back up his claims, Nadir sent CBS6 a number of documents. One print-out alone consisted of thousands of pages of personal information, names, addresses, social security numbers, bank account numbers, routing numbers, IP addresses, of thousands of Americans. Nadir claims to have ten-times the amount of information he shared with CBS6.
Lewke tracked down a number of the people whose information was on the document and confirmed that the personal information Nadir provided was accurate. Edith Pagan lives in Rensselaer, she applied for a payday loan back in 2010 and thought the whole thing was behind her, she had no idea her personal information was still being accessed regularly by scammers. "That, that's my social security, it is, that's my job, they got my date of birth, they got my bank, that is my checking account and that's the routing numberit's scary, they got my license, it's really scary," she said when looking at the information provided.
Nadir has said that he would be willing to talk with and provide further information to American Law Enforcement. So, CBS6 brought the information he shared with us to the FBI in Albany. "We appreciate you providing it to us and what we'll do is take this information and review it, determine if there is a criminal violation that we can investigate and even if there isn't, we'll do whatever we can, reasonably to mitigate any further damage of the release of the information This does happen more often than we would hope but we take any unauthorized disclosure of American citizens personal, identifiable information, very seriously because it could have dire consequences for them," says Supervisory Special Agent Paul Holstein. It's something Pagan is finding out the hard way, "Oh I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on my credit because you never know, I mean that is really scary to know they got everything out there," she says.