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Jan. 30, 2015 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, a Peruvian man is sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for running a fraudulent call center, and a new report suggests seniors are losing more than we thought to phone scams.

On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice announced that Juan Alejandro Rodriguez Cuya was sentenced to serve 210 months in federal prison for his operation of fraudulent call centers in Peru. The Peruvian callers falsely accused the victims of having failed to accept delivery of certain products and claimed that the victims owed thousands of dollars in fines.

On Thursday, Carolyn Rosenblatt of Forbes discussed a new study that claims seniors are losing $36.48 billion each year to fraud – more than twelve times the US government’s estimate. The study reports that phone fraudsters using legal but misleading tactics to get a senior’s permission to take money from them, leads to losses of $16.99 billion per year. The senior may be tricked into giving consent to credit card charges, for example and not realize how deeply or how long that consent ends up costing them.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

Pindrop Security Blog: Five Trends in Phone Fraud for 2015 – The attack on Sony brought a lot of attention to the way cyber criminals are using technology as a tool for extortion. Increasingly, these criminals are turning to telephony as an instrument for blackmail. Public services are particularly vulnerable.

The Street: The Looming Credit Card Liability Shift: Who Wins, Who’s at Risk? – When the UK implemented EMV in 2005, so called “card not present” fraud — that is, online sales — stood at $277 million, or 183 million pounds. It jumped to $497 million, or 328 million pounds, in 2008, according to Aite. Everybody expects similar in the U.S.

Forbes: Have We Grossly Underestimated the Extent of Financial Elder Abuse? – Some of the surprising conclusions from of the study are that seniors who are younger, urban, and college-educated lose more money than those who are not. Another surprising finding is that legal but misleading tactics lead to losses of $16.99 billion per year.

Consumerist: FTC: Totally Fine By Us If Phone Companies Block Robocalling Numbers – Autodialers and phone spam, they’re still a big problem. The FCC wants to know if phone companies can block them getting to you. Phone companies say too bad, so sad, the rules mean we can’t block them… but the FTC now disagrees.

Nearshore Americas: Ten Steps for Securing Customer Data – Customers trust that contact centers have all the necessary procedures, technology and screening methodologies in place to protect their vital private information. Even so, fraudsters are constantly developing their own strategies to hack systems and mine for data.

Parade Magazine: Ask Marilyn: Reaction to a Phone Scam – My mother received a phone call from a man who said he was with our local electric utility, and he asked her if she would like to have a free home energy inspection. She said yes, and made an appointment for him to come. She told my father, who was suspicious.

US Department of Justice: Peruvian Man Sentenced for Defrauding and Extorting Spanish-Speaking U.S. Residents through Fraudulent Call Centers – Juan Alejandro Rodriguez Cuya was sentenced to serve 210 months for his operation of call centers in Peru that threatened victims into paying fraudulent settlements for nonexistent debts.

KWQC: Phone Scam Uses Traffic Camera Tickets as a Ploy – Davenport police got a report of a caller contacting about an unpaid ticket from one of the city’s many red light cameras. In some cases the caller even poses as a deputy and threatens an arrest if immediate payment isn’t made.

Collegiate Times: Phone scam targets international students – “If (a student) had been a target of this scam and they were now financially bereft, then we can sit with them and figure out how to help,” Baker said. “The international population here is profoundly vulnerable, simply because they don’t have the cultural frame of reference.”

Chicago Tribune: Why your bad password soon might not matter anymore – Biometric markers could surpass passwords within 12 months. That would mean a shift from notoriously weak letter-and-number combinations to stronger, less hackable protection measures like fingerprint authentication.

Gizmodo: Turns Out Apple Pay Can’t Solve Credit Card Fraud – In short, banks aren’t taking the proper measures to ensure that the credit card owner is the one using the credit card in Apple Pay. Most banks use a phone call to authenticate when a card is loaded into Apple Pay, a method that’s woefully inadequate.

Hemel Today: Show fraudsters who’s boss by swotting up with police phone scam mock up – A scam phone call has been mocked-up by police in an effort to show potential victims how convincing the con artists can be. Herts Police has posted the example recording on its Youtube channel.

Yuma Sun: Arizona bill targets political robocalls – Relief may be on the way for Arizona voters pestered each and every election with hundreds of robocalls from candidates and their supporters. Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, has introduced legislation to create a political “do not call” list available to all Arizonans.

Money: 7 Ways to Keep Your Tax Refund Safe From Thieves – Be wary of email or phone calls claiming to be from the IRS. An unexpected email from the IRS, notifying you about an outstanding refund or a pending investigation, say, is always a scam. The IRS will never initiate contact via email to request sensitive information.

The Daily Mail: ‘Disgrace’ of banks refusing to refund phone scam victims – Banks are behaving ‘disgracefully’ by refusing refunds to victims of conmen, the former boss of a major lender said yesterday. Peter Burt, who was chief executive of Bank of Scotland, said money stolen through ‘vishing’ should be returned to customers automatically.

Albuquerque Journal: Phone fraudsters recycle approach – In Albuquerque, police are again warning of calls from a “Lt. Donaldson,” who is trolling for $500 payments by calling people and telling them they have missed jury duty. He asks that the payment be made via a prepaid credit card.

Tech Radar: Trends in the payments industry for 2015: Mobile. Biometrics, and E-money – A WorldPay survey indicated that 49% of European consumers would most like to see biometric payments emerge as a payment technology alternative. I see this as increasing throughout 2015 with more and more banks adopting this technique. How to Spot a Tax Scam Before You Get Got – There are a few red flags that should pop up when you get a call from someone claiming you need to pay taxes. The IRS isn’t big on making phone calls to taxpayers, and they definitely aren’t going to call you if they haven’t already sent you correspondence via USPS.

Consumerist: IRS Says Thousands Have Been Scammed Into Paying Bogus Back Taxes – According to the IRS, in only the last 15 months, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (or, if you prefer, TIGTA) has received an astounding 290,000 reports of scammy phone calls from people falsely claiming they were IRS employees.

WSLS10: Virginia Tech police investigating phone scam – Officers said during the scam, the victim will receive a call from someone claiming to be acting on behalf of a law enforcement or government agency. The caller will demand money while telling the victim that if they refuse harsh action will be taken toward the victim’s family.

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