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August 28 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, the story behind those silent phone calls and experts predict cars will become a target for identity theft.

On Monday, NPR’s all Things Considered ran a story on phone fraud and featured an interview with Pindrop’s CEO, Vijay Balasubramaniyan. The story covered several aspects of phone fraud, including the use of robocallers, social engineering, and account takeover. It includes tips for consumers, as well as information on how financial institutions are using PhoneprintingTM to detect fraud over the voice channel.

On Thursday, Bloomberg Business reported a new security concern for automakers: dashboard purchases. Gartner analysts predict that by 2020 as many as 40% of new vehicles will let drivers shop from behind the wheel using voice controls and a smartphone. Ford and General Motors already have apps that drivers to use dashboard voice commands to dictate pizza orders or book hotel rooms. These systems present a rich target for fraud and identity theft.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

NPR All Things Considered: Why Phone Fraud Starts With A Silent Call – Here’s an experience some of us have had. The phone rings. You pick it up and say “Hello. Hello. Helloooo.” But nobody answers. It turns out there could be an automated computer system that’s calling your number to build a list of humans to target for theft.

Huffington Post: When You Answer The Phone And No One Is There – According to experts, these kinds of calls are step one in a phone fraud scheme that could lead to your identity being stolen and/or your bank account drained. The silence on the other end of the phone is actually a computer gathering information about you.

Krebs on Security: Who Hacked Ashley Madison? – A week ago, the news media pounced on the Ashley Madison story once again, roughly 24 hours after the hackers made good on their threat to release the Ashley Madison user database. I went back and examined Zu’s tweet stream around that time.

FTC Blog: What’s the deal with “Rachel from Card Services”? – Rachel and her cohorts from “Card Services” have been annoying people for years with their illegal robocalls. And the FTC is working hard to stop them — both bringing cases and hosting competitions to develop robocall-blocking technology.

Pindrop: Four Minute Webinar: Next Generation Call Center Authentication & Security – The challenges are mounting for call centers. Old fashioned knowledge based authentication questions are ineffective and inefficient. Newer approaches like voice biometrics are no more effective and don’t protect all of your customers.

Patch: Boston Police Warn of New Hostage Phone Scam – The Boston Police Department is warning residents to exercise caution as an ongoing phone extortion scam runs rampant. The scam happens when a caller claims to be holding one of the victim’s relatives hostage and needs money.

News 2: Phone Scam: Foreign Caller Claims to be with Taliban – One St. Helena Island man feared for his safety, when he says a phone scammer told him he was with a terrorist group. Investigators say they have heard of unusual antics scammers use to prey on people, but the Taliban claim is a first.

Battle Creek Enquirer: Phone scam targets recently release inmates – The caller contacts the inmates or the family and explains that a mistake was made and the inmate owes more money for their bond. The caller then demands that more money be wired to a location for the person to avoid being arrested.

Irish Examiner: Woman who lost €24,500 in phone scam ‘distraught’ – In the case involving the woman from north Dublin, she was contacted by someone purporting to be from a high-end city jewellers, claiming that her bank card was being used in-store by someone unknown to her to buy a Rolex watch.

The Press Enterprise: Older folks more likely to respond to robocalls – Just having a landline is a matter of age. Only 14 percent of adults over the age of 65 have gotten rid of their landlines, vs. 66 percent of Americans 25-29 who have done the same, according to the National Health Interview Study.

CSO: Maybe it’s time to eliminate “something you know” as an authentication method – The vast majority of authentication used today is based simply on a username and password, which has proven time and time again to be inherently insecure. Perhaps it’s time to change our definition of authentication.

CSO: Fraud rate doubles as cybercriminals create new accounts in users’ name – Creating a brand new account can be even more profitable for criminals. By opening a new credit card account, for example, the criminals don’t have to worry about the victim seeing the fraudulent transactions on their monthly statements.

Bloomberg Business: Cars Become Target for Identity Theft as Shopping Hits Dashboard – Eager for a cut of drivers’ purchases of fast food, gas and more, automakers have big plans to bring e-commerce to the dashboard. Ford Motor Co. already has an app that lets drivers dictate an order to Domino’s Pizza using voice controls and a smartphone.

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