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Apr. 10 – The Week In Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, Consumer Reports reveals how robocallers are getting around the Do Not Call List and a notorious phone fraudster cons his way out of jail.

On Monday Consumer Reports examined the reasons that robocallers are able to flaunt the National Do Not Call Registry rules. They found that many robocallers simply ignore the laws, betting that regulators are too busy to come after them. As it turns out, they are often right. The FTC receives anywhere from 250,000 to 300,000 complaints per month, and calls with pre-recorded messages are responsible for around 60 percent of those complaints. 

UK courts this week heard a wild tale of the lengths that one convicted phone fraudster went to escape incarceration. Neil Moore, 28, was in jail for running an elaborate phone fraud plot in which he posed as multiple male and/or female fraud prevention department officials from Barclays, Bank of America, and more. His female impersonations were so convincing that prosecutors initially believed his transgender partner was participating in the fraud. Moore convinced jailers to free him using phishing emails made to look like official court orders.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

Daily Tech: Fraud Artist Engineered Stunning UK Jailbreak Via Typosquatting, Email – Much of this defendant’s fraud consisted of him on a telephone speaking with a male voice and no less effectively and persuasively with a female voice. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity.

Tom’s Guide: How to Deal with Tech Support Scams – If you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be a Microsoft technician and says your computer is having problems that they can fix, just hang up. Microsoft never makes unsolicited support calls, but scammers pretend to come from the company.

American Banker: Sneaky ‘Dyre’ Malware Bilks Corporate Bank Accounts – The so-called Dyre Wolf gang is using the malware, a banking Trojan, in combination with social engineering (i.e. tricking people into divulging information), to defeat the two-factor authentication banks typically require for large wire transfers, researchers say.

The Colorado Springs Gazette: Scam using the Verizon Wireless name – Take the bad guys who have cooked up a new scheme to try and trick customers of Verizon Wireless. They put the Verizon name in the Caller ID window and when you answer their call, the voice sounds like a friendly female most Verizon customers recognize.

The Telegraph: ‘Fraudsters stole £80k from our bank’ – But Mrs A was an unsuspecting victim of “vishing” – where fraudsters keep the telephone line open so that rather than hanging up and dialling the bank, she had in fact remained connected to the criminals. Mrs A was told that her accounts had been compromised.

Credit Union Times: Dyre Wolf Scheme Targets Corporate Accounts – “This malware and technique is not new, but it is the first time it is being combined and utilized on such a large scale,” Paul Kubler, cyber security examiner, said. “It targets organizations rather than end users, and has been particularly effective.”

PYMNTS: Hackers Hack Wire Transfer Network – The brilliance of this particular hack is that it uses “social engineering” to bypass standard security protocols like passwords and two-factor authentication. By getting users to call in and voluntarily share their information, crooks get an easy method.

Bank Info Security: New Malware Attacks Prey on Banks – More secure forms of secondary authentication, such as biometrics, are another option that needs to be pursued,” he says. “This type of threat proves that the general perception of what is commercially reasonable is actually anything but.”

The Des Moines Register: Florida company to refund 2,600 Iowans – A Florida company has to refund more than 2,600 Iowans under an agreement with the state attorney general. Miller said Global Travel “designed its deceptive postcard and confusing telephone pitch to lure consumers into paying unexpected membership charges.”

The Fresno Bee: Jury duty scare latest example of phone scam – I got a call from a man who said he was a police officer and that I had missed jury duty. I don’t remember getting a notice that I was supposed to serve. The man said that I now had a warrant out for my arrest. I had to pay $2,500 and that would take care of the warrant.

Network World: Watching a ‘Swatting’ slowly unfold within sight of the Boston Marathon starting line – If you’re thinking that maybe the police could have done differently — namely less — I’d suggest you consider library stands within eyesight of the starting line of the Boston Marathon, which will be run two weeks from tomorrow. The caller said he had a bomb. Enough said.

USA Today: How to prevent identity fraud at tax time – The typical tax-related scams that plague Americans are deceptively simple and direct, says Michael Sonnenblick, senior tax analyst at Thomson Reuters. “They mainly center on “social engineering,” he says, preying upon victims’ trust – or alternately, their fears.

Daily Tech: Fraud Artist Engineered Stunning UK Jailbreak Via Typosquatting, Email – Much of this defendant’s fraud consisted of him on a telephone speaking with a male voice and no less effectively and persuasively with a female voice. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity.

ABC 27: Woman lost $1,900 in phone scame, police say – The woman reported that she received a phone call Thursday from someone who identified themselves as being from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, and she said that’s what her caller ID showed, Manheim Township police said in a news release.

FTC Blog: Unlocking the code – Here’s how the scam works. The scammer says he’s calling from your credit card’s security or fraud department. They’ve flagged some suspicious activity on your card, he says. He makes up a bogus transaction and asks if you authorized it. Of course, you didn’t.

Hartford Courant: Let people block political robo-calls – it is with full-throated, arm-waving enthusiasm that we support a bill that would limit automated political calls. The bill directs the state Department of Consumer Protection to create a “no political calls” listing of those who do not wish to receive automated political calls.

Get Surrey: Phone scam fraudsters left elderly man feeling ‘threatened and distressed’ – A gang of five men and boys who scammed elderly people from across the south east out of thousands of pounds have been sentenced. The scam began when someone contacted victims by telephone posing as a police officer.

WINK News: Could you start getting more robocalls? – Currently, it is illegal for companies to flood your cell phone with recorded messages or texts, but the American Bankers Association has asked the Federal Communication Commission to loosen those restrictions.

The Guardian: Crackdown begins on nuisance texts and phone calls – Trying to stem the tide of nuisance texts and phone calls may seem impossible, but the government is trying. From Monday, it will be easier for a government watchdog to crack down on nuisance phone calls, with fines of up to £500,000.

Lompoc Record: The dark side of predation – The phone rings.You answer and a gruff voice says: “If you don’t pay $200, I’ll plant a virus in your computer. Give me your credit card number. Now!” It’s a scam, but the caller is gambling that you have a computer in your home, which you likely do.

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