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January 8 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, Pindrop on scams to avoid in 2016, and warranty fraud hits Fitbit.

On Tuesday, Consumer Reports spoke to Pindrop’s director of research, David Dewey about new phone scams to look out for in 2016. Pindrop researchers predicted an uptick in government impersonation scams, campaign contribution scams, and more in the coming year.

On Wednesday, Brian Krebs interviewed Fitbit’s security chief about new warranty phone fraud schemes, in which fraudsters call customer service, impersonating a legitimate customer. After taking over the customer’s account, they claim a new device has stopped working and demand a replacement.


On The Wire: Fake Tech Support Scams Evolve to Include Support, Purchase History – Calling a tech support line can be a fairly miserable experience. Having tech support reps calling you at home to warn you about supposed malware on your PC is even worse. It’s an old scam, but one that’s gotten a vicious new twist of late.

Krebs on Security: Account Takeovers Fueling ‘Warranty Fraud’ – The fraudsters will log in to the customer’s account and change the email address on the customer’s account. The scammers then call Fitbit’s customer service folks, claim that their device has stopped working, and demand a replacement.

Montreal Gazette: Fraud experts warn of new phone extortion scam aimed at immigrants – Immigrants to Canada, including the 3,500 Syrian refugees recently welcomed to Quebec, should beware of a growing telephone scam where callers claiming to be employees of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada try to extort money from new arrivals.

Consumer Reports: New Scams to Avoid in 2016 – To help you become more knowledgeable about these new scams, we asked David Dewey, director of research at Pindrop Security, a firm that provides anti-fraud detection technology for call centers, to tell us about the latest trends in identity theft and phone fraud.

Krebs on Security: Fraudsters Automate Russian Dating Scams – Crooked call centers employ con artists who speak a variety of languages. When the call center employees are not being hired to close the deal on a romance scam, they are used to assist in bank account takeovers, redirecting packages, and other scams.

Daily Mail: 95% rise in telephone banking thefts as fraudsters are impersonating firms on caller ID – Bank customers have been warned about a new phone scam in which fraudsters impersonate the numbers of companies to steal money from their accounts. The con – known as number spoofing – has fuelled a 95% rise in telephone banking thefts in the last year.

BBC News: Vishing and smishing: The rise of social engineering fraud – Most of us like to think we’re too clever to be caught out by email and telephone scams, but in fact any of us can get caught out by fraudsters. Their tricks have gone far beyond the infamous fax from a “Nigerian prince” you’ve never heard of asking you for money.

Krebs on Security: 2016 Reality: Lazy Authentication Still the Norm – The attacker had merely called in to PayPal’s customer support, pretended to be me and was able to reset my password by providing nothing more than the last four digits of my Social Security number and the last four numbers of an old credit card account.

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