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December 11 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, consequences of the VTech breach and UK fraudsters convicted for £600,000 phone scam

This week, the Associated Press spoke to Pindrop’s David Dewey to learn about possible consequences of the recent data breach at toy company VTech. Dewey detailed the ways fraudsters build profiles of potential victims by collecting small pieces of information from these breaches. He also discussed possible “virtual kidnapping” phone scams.

On Thursday, the BBC reported that four men have been convicted over a phone scam carried out across the south of England that defrauded 18 pensioners out of a total of £600,000. The men impersonated police officers investigating fraud to convince elderly victims to transfer money out of their accounts for safekeeping.


The Telegraph: ‘I had £104,000 stolen from me – by other NatWest customers’ – To safeguard against further attacks, the Watsons were told needed to move their money into another account within the NatWest group. The phone calls continued, with further urgent instructions, and over a three-day period the couple made nine transfers.

WTSP: Phone scam ties up law firm’s phone lines – The potential victims have voicemail telling them to call a number to claim their money but instead of calling that number many respond to the caller ID which is routed to a Tampa law firm. And that has kept the phones ringing off the hook at the James Hoyer law firm.

New York Times: After the VTech Hack, Some Tips on Keeping Your Kids Safe – The worry is that even basic pieces of information could allow nefarious people to start building profiles of children, potentially setting them up for identity theft or worse down the road. David Dewey, of Pindrop Security, says kids are easy targets.

FTC Consumer Information: Don’t recognize that debt? Here’s what to do. – Debt collectors make up to one billion contacts with consumers each year. It’s their job to make sure they’re collecting from the right people. But sometimes, they reach the wrong person. Other times, they’re actually part of a fake debt collection scam.

Pindrop Blog: What’s Next in Phone Fraud: 2016 Trends & Predictions from Pindrop Labs – It’s that time of year again. We’ve asked Pindrop Labs researchers to break out their crystal balls and make some predictions for the coming year in phone fraud. Below are a few of the trends that our team will be watching for in 2016.

Gothamist: Watch Out For These Common Phone Scams – Schneiderman said, “With the holiday season rapidly approaching, the last thing families need is to be scammed out of their hard-earned money. It is shameful that scam artists target people with bogus threats and scare tactics.

BBC News: Gang guilty over £600,000 phone scam against pensioners – Four men have been convicted over a phone scam carried out across the south of England that defrauded 18 pensioners out of a total of £600,000. The Metropolitan Police said the fraud was uncovered after a separate terrorist investigation.

BBC: Phone scammers preyed on retirees’ vulnerability – Pretending to be police officers, the fraudsters would phone an elderly person’s home and lie that their bank account was being defrauded and they should call their bank’s fraud department. What the victim didn’t realise was that the fraudsters stayed on the line.

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