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January 15 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, Brian Krebs reports on the innerworkings of a fraud call center, and swatters use new robocall tactics.

On Monday, Brian Krebs published a new report on the call centers used by cybercriminals to complete phone based portions of scams. These call centers allow customers to upload information about their targets to a service that initiates a call to a bank, credit provider, or other victim.

This week, police in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia are investigating a wave of bomb threats made to at least 13 schools on Monday morning — with many of the threats delivered via “robo-call” type automation. Robocalling is a new tactic being used by swatters to efficiently increase the scope of their attacks.


CNBC: Which cities receive the most robocalls – Based on a analysis of over 50,000 consumer complaints to the CFPB related to debt collection, your cellphone may be targeted even if you don’t owe anyone a dime. Roughly two-thirds of those related to debt were from people who had no debts.

Thanhnien News: Chinese, Vietnamese scammers get 7 years for phone fraud – A Ho Chi Minh City court has sentenced a Chinese man and a Vietnamese woman to seven years in prison for swindling many people out of VND490 million (US$21,870) in a phone scam. The gang called their victims, claiming to be investigators.

BT: Dangerous phone spoofing scams on the increase – Cases of so-called phone spoofing, where scammers ring your home phone pretending to be a bank or the police or another legitimate company or body, are rising fast. Fraud watchdog Financial Fraud Action UK says the number of cases doubled in the past year.

On The Wire: Bankosy Android Trojan Defeats Voice 2FA – Banks attempt to circumvent it by calling users directly to verify a login attempt. Researchers recently discovered that Bankosy has added functionality that can enable call forwarding, so that those calls from banks are sent to the attackers rather than the users.

FTC Blog: Medicare imposters want to steal your money. Don’t let them. – In one scenario, scammers call, pretending to work for Medicare. They say they need to verify your bank account number — and it might sound convincing. Some callers may even know the first few numbers of your account, and say you just need to verify the rest.

Krebs on Security: A Look Inside Cybercriminal Call Centers – Crooks who make a living via identity theft schemes often run into trouble when presented with a phone-based challenge that requires them to demonstrate mastery of a language they don’t speak fluently. Enter the criminal call center.

The Washington Post: Robo-calls delivered school bomb threats Monday, causing evacuations – Investigators in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia are investigating a wave of bomb threats made to at least 13 schools on Monday morning — with many of the threats delivered via “robo-call” type automation.

BBC News: Abingdon phone scam cons ‘vulnerable’ people out of £25k – Scammers phoned residents of Abingdon, Oxfordshire, pretending to be police officers and fraud investigators. Victims were convinced to take out cash, seal it in an envelope, and then hand it to couriers who called on them later, police said.

BBC News: The ‘bogus boss’ email scam costing firms millions – “My accountant was called on Friday morning,” she tells the BBC. “Someone said: ‘You’re going to get an email from the president, and she’s going to give you instructions to conduct a very confidential transaction’.”

The Shields Gazette: Student jailed for phone fraud scam worth £20 million – Jaglan processed money obtained by fraudsters who conned customers into handing over bank details in a scam. Prosecutors say Jaglan was not the mastermind of the “highly organised criminal gang” but neither was he at the bottom of the hierachy.

On The Wire: When Smart Devices Do Dumb Things – A pop-up warned that the site the user was trying to visit contained malware. The dialog box also encouraged the user to call a phone number “for technical support.” The malware prevented the user from doing anything else with the Smart TV.

Komo News: Robocall still there even after you hang up? – Phone technology experts say Nest is dealing with the a phone system reality unknown to most consumers. While robocalls are supposed to disconnect in 5 seconds, telephone technology often keeps phone connections going for closer to 10 to 12 seconds.

Forbes highlights Deep Voice™ Biometric Engine