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July 10 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, hedge fund loses $1.2M to phone scam and Time Warner ordered to pay $1500 per illegal robocall.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg Business published an alarming story on a phone scam that cost one hedge fund $1.2 million. The scam, known as the “Friday Afternoon Scam,” involved a caller impersonating the hedge fund’s bank, pretending that fraudulent activity have been discovered on the account.

On Wednesday, Time Warner Cable was ordered to pay over a quarter million dollars to a Texas woman for violating the TCPA. According to Money, Time Warner Cable placed 153 automated calls meant fo another customer, who had once held the same phone number, and had not paid his bill. The courts charged the company $1,500 per call.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

11 Alive: Technical glitches ground planes, freeze stocks – Pindrop Security founder and CEO Vijay Balasubramaniyan discusses the technical problems that grounded United Airlines flights and briefly shut down the New York Stock Exchange.

BBC News: Banks not liable in most vishing fraud, says Ombudsman – People who are the victims of so-called “vishing” scams cannot always rely on their bank to compensate them, a study has suggested. In nearly two-thirds of cases the Financial Ombudsman Service found that banks were not responsible for victims’ losses.

Bloomberg Business: A London Hedge Fund Lost $1.2 Million in a Friday Afternoon Phone Scam – The finance chief at Fortelus Capital Management LLP got an alarming phone call just as he was getting ready to leave work on a Friday. The caller said he was from Coutts, the hedge fund’s bank, and warned there may have been fraudulent activity on the account.

CBS New York: An Admitted ‘Swatting’ Hoaxer Talks About His Actions – Rodney was 18 when he made a hoax 911 call to report men with guns at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. The call prompted New Jersey State Police to stop the van he was traveling in with fellow students. They were ordered to evacuate at police gunpoint.

CNN Money: Leader of tax-related phone scam sentenced to nearly 15 years in prison – Tax-related phone scams have been rampant in the past two years, affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans. But on Wednesday one of the masterminds behind them was brought to justice. Sahil Patel was sentenced to nearly 15 years (175 months) in prison.

ECNS: Telecom scammers steal $1.72 bln from Chinese victims in 2014 – China reported more than 400,000 telecom fraud cases last year, up more than 30 percent from 2013 while causing economic losses worth 10.7 billion yuan ($1.72 billion) to unsuspecting victims, according to the latest data from the Ministry of Public Security.

Fortune: Why your bank may not care if your credit card was hacked – If your payment card information hovers in limbo—up for sale, but not yet in the hands of those crooks—your bank may know it. Since each reissued card costs the bank around $5, the expense of retiring a card may not be worth incurring until somebody starts misusing it.

Fraud & Technology Wire: Diving Deeper into VoIP Fraud – A recently issued report from anti-fraud tech solution provider Pindrop Security offers evidence that the fraud potential for VoIP is real, and growing rapidly. The report found that more than half of fraudulent calls were made over VoIP services.

FTC Blog: FTC stops robocall scam – The FTC filed a lawsuit to shut down this scam. Why? Payless lied about lowering interest rates, lied about working for consumers’ banks, and unfairly charged consumers’ credit cards. And those annoying robocalls? They violated the Do Not Call rules.

FTC Blog: Getting calls from your own number? – It’s like a scene out of a strange sci-fi movie. You get a call, look at the caller ID, and see that your own number is calling. Weird! No, this isn’t an alternate reality where your future self is calling the present you. It’s a scammer making an illegal robocall.

FTC Blog: If at first you don’t succeed… – Last year, the FTC and the Florida AG sued Senior Safe Alert, a telemarketer that made illegal robocalls to pitch “free” medical alert devices to older people. But thesystems came from another company, Lifewatch, which simply recruited new telemarketers.

KRDO: Statistics show phone scams are on the rise – Pindrop Security, a company specializing in phone protection for consumers and call centers, found phone scams increased 30 percent since 2013. It found attackers are using robodialers to increase efficiency in their quest to get consumer’s information.

Money: Time Warner Cable Must Pay $229,500 to Woman It Robocalled 153 Times – That’s $1500 per call. “Defendant harassed plaintiff with robo-calls until she had to resort to a lawsuit to make the calls stop, and even then TWC could not be bothered to update the information in its IVR system,” Hellerstein wrote.

NBC New York: Brooklyn Man Admits to Swindling 17 in Grandparent Phone Scam – A New York City man has pleaded guilty to a scam that swindled 17 people nationwide out of thousands of dollars by scaring them about their grandchildren. The callers tricked victims by saying a grandchild had been arrested on a drug charge.

NBC News: Robocall Credit Card Interest Scam Continues to Plague Consumers – In recent years, the FTC has sued more than a dozen boiler-room operations making these bogus credit card rate reduction offers. And yet, the calls keep going out. In fact, when it comes to robocall complaints, these rate reduction calls top the list.

Network World: FTC shuts down “card member services” robocallers – The FTC said the company, Payless Solutions, has been illegally calling thousands of consumers nationwide claiming that their program will enable them to pay off their debts more quickly. The defendants then charged for their worthless service. Customer scammed $20,000 after Telstra representative gives out personal details – “They [the scammer] somehow had access to my home address, date of birth, full name and phone number. They didn’t need any secret questions, nothing,” Mr Rose, who has been a Telstra customer for over eight years, told

Pindrop Blog: The Georgraphy of Phone Fraud: Where Do Phone Scams Come From? – How can you tell if an attacker is on the phone line? According to our latest phone fraud report, one of the key giveaways is where the call is coming from. Pindrop Labs found that 64 percent of fraud calls originate in a country other than the country of the attack target.

Pindrop Labs Blog: Data Science: How Do We Get Started? Predicting the Outcome of March Madness – I will be digging into a specific example relating to the situation when a data scientist is presented with a prediction goal, but no data to support that goal. Specifically, we will be looking at trying to predict the outcome of March Madness.

Pindrop Security: Webinar: The State of Phone Fraud 2015 – In this webcast, David Dewey will review the 2015 Phone Fraud Report and help you understand the current trends in phone fraud. David will also help you understand how phone fraud is affecting your industry.

PYMNTS: How a Phone Scam Cost One Hedge Fund $1.2M – This type of fraud even has a name. It’s called the “Friday afternoon scam.” And it’s costing firms and their insurers an estimated £5 million (that’s around $7.7 million) every three months. To compare, the most severe breaches cost for SMEs are as much as £310,800.

Social Engineer: Are your employees trained to withstand vishing attacks? – While phishing emails need to evade spam folders, a phone call, especially into the Sales, HR or Customer Service department, is far more likely to be answered. According to a recent report by Pindrop Security, enterprise phone fraud incidents are up 30% since 2013.

The Missoulian: Scam victim left destitute in the mountains above Bearmouth – The big day finally arrived last Thursday. The bogus sweepstakes contacts instructed him to show up at his bank to receive his prizes. No one showed up with money or a Mercedes. But the repossession company was on hand to claim his truck.

This is Money: Elderly people most likely targets of phone scams – with London and South East the hotspots for fraudsters – The analysis of 185 phone scams involving ‘vishing’ and ‘no hang up’ scams found that 80 per cent of victims conned out of their cash were over 55s. Within this age group, one in three were aged between 65 and 74 years old, while one in five were over 75s.

WJCL: Phone scams more risky than Internet schemes – David Dewey of Pindrop Research did an eye opening study of modern scams. He also reviews content from regulatory bodies. Dewey says there are the usual attempts to steal someone’s identity and bank account, and some of the scams are bold.

WSPA: One Ring Phone Scam Making Comeback – An old phone scam is making a comeback. You hear is one ring, get a missed call, and when you call back you get charged. We spoke to a Spartanburg woman who fell for it. “I called back. That’s what you normally do, right?,” said Lana Zattman.

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