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December 4 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, warning about holiday charity scams and police arrest a serial swatter.

According to a new report from IBM, the 2015 holiday season is particularly promising for fraudsters due to the recent Paris terror attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis. Consumers should be on the lookout for calls from scammers impersonating charities. Researchers warn that fraudsters may target victims based on social media activity like joining a Facebook group dedicated to helping refugees.

Last week, the New York Times published an in-depth story on swatting, the practice of making false emergency calls to lure a SWAT team to a victim’s door. Reporters profiled a hacker known as Obnoxious, who authorities discovered had led swatting and DDoS attacks on hundreds of women.

newsletter-banner Why Are Americans’ Stolen Credit Cards Worth Only $5? – You’d think your name, birthdate, Social Security number and credit card data would be priceless. But according to a new report from Intel Security, U.S. credit card data is much less valuable than data found in the U.K., Canada, Australia or European Union.

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta: Atlanta Fed Conference Explores Biometrics in Payments – The real key to biometrics becoming ubiquitous is straightforward, said Vijay Balasubramaniyan, cofounder of Pindrop Security, which develops voice authentication systems for call centers: they must offer real security and be easy to use.

Security Intelligence: Charity Fraud Trifecta: Phishing, Vishing and Smishing – Natural disasters and other events that capture the world’s attention have long been a favorite opportunity for charity fraud social engineering scams. These scams prey on the average person’s sympathies for those affected by such events.

Credit Union Times: Target Settles in Breach Suit – “This settlement is important for the financial institutions that sustained losses as a result of the Target data breach. It sets a precedent that financial institutions should not bear the costs related to merchant breaches over which they have no control.”

NBC News: Phone Fraud Gets Harder as FTC Bans Payment Methods Favored by Crooks – Con artists like payments that are tough to trace and hard for people to reverse, said Jessica Rich of the FTC. “The FTC’s new telemarketing rules ban payment methods that scammers like, but honest telemarketers don’t use,” she said in a statement.

CBC: ‘Slick’ $62K banking scam stopped by CIBC staff in LaSalle, Ont. – The woman received a call from what appeared to be a CIBC phone number and spoke to two men. The two worked to secure enough personal and banking information to begin transferring money from the victim’s account, all while she was still on the phone.

CU Insight: The steady rise of call center fraud – Call center fraud schemes are on the rise. In IDology’s 2015 Fraud Report, suspected call center fraud attempts rose from 2 percent in 2014 to 13 percent in 2015 – a six-fold increase. Credit unions and other financial services organizations can expect to be hit hardest.

The New York Times: An Unwelcome Loophole for Robocalls – Now, however, registering to avoid robocalls might not be enough for some cell phone users. Last month Congress quietly approved a way for computerized callers to tap into the cell phones used by millions of people who owe money on government backed loans.

InfoSecurity Magazine: Tackling Data Breach Impact: Machine Learning – Criminals know they are unlikely to be able to gather enough data from hacking one company to go on to impersonate genuine customers, with the end aim of stealing goods or funds. So they look for more data to create a complete picture.

The Japan Times: Tokyo police freeze 2,100 scam phone lines in five months – Tokyo police froze around 2,100 telephone lines used in fraud schemes such as “It’s me” scams from May to October — a 3.5-fold increase from the same period last year, according to police sources. Damage from this kind of fraud totaled about ¥5.5 billion.

The New York Times: The Serial Swatter – Finley linked the call to a Skype account that had also called 10 other police agencies across the United States in that month. Finley compared the recordings of those calls with the Georgia call. It was obviously the same suspect; he hadn’t bothered to alter his voice.

Narratively: How I fell face first for an epic IRS scam – If anyone should have known better, it was me. In my career as a journalist, I’ve researched the ways our minds fall for tricks like this. I’ve even reported on scams . But the truth is that I fell for this scam — almost completely.

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