July 17 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, FBI issues kidnapping scam warning and tech support scammers are impersonating Apple.

This week, the FBI issued a new scam warning to US citizens traveling abroad. Criminals call tourists in their hotel rooms and convince them they are in danger and need to leave the hotel and turn off their phones. The attacker then calls the tourist’s family falsely claiming the victim is being held hostage and demanding ransom. Because the victim’s phone is off, family members can’t confirm the call is a scam, and attackers don’t actually need to kidnap anyone.

We’ve all heard of the Microsoft Tech Support Scam, but new reports from the UK prove that attackers are expanding their repertoire. The Daily Mail reports that criminals are now posing as Apple employees, telling victims that their Apple iPads or iPhones have a technical problem, which can be fixed remotely for a fee. The UK Office for National Statistics recently found that technical support scam reports have more than doubled in recent years.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News
FTC Blog: Attention Grandparents: Watch out for phony debt collectors – A fake debt collector calls you. They want to collect on a debt your grandchild (supposedly) failed to pay. They ask you to wire money, send a prepaid card or give your credit card number – immediately. And if you won’t – or can’t – pay? That’s when the threats begin.

Forbes: For Social Engineering Scams, The Best Security Patch is Education – Vishing, or voice phishing, takes it to the phone. As Hadnagy said, there’s no easy fix for a malicious actor pretending — convincingly — that they lost their ID or need a password, or need access to someone else’s. The only fix for social engineering is education.

The NY Daily Record: Fraud Facts: Looking at ways to recognize a telemarketing scam – Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a trustworthy telemarketer and a scammer who uses the phone to lure people in. With the help of Internet software, callers are able to operate from just about anywhere in the world.

Denver Post: Life in the age of robocalls – I want to go on the offensive with a robocall robo-terminator that plugs into my landline or runs as an app on my smartphone. On command, it will attack, holding the line open and sending coded signals that defeat and destroy the robocaller’s system.

Atlanta Tech Blogs: How to get a job at a startup Part 1: perceptions vs. realities – We took on four different aspects of landing a job and working at a tech startup, the first of which was perceptions vs. realities of startup life. Below is a list of perceptions that the crowd offered up, and the panelists various responses to what the reality actually is.

mTab: Statistics Say Phone Scams Escalating – Spoofing scams involve hijacking a real phone number that shows up on people’s caller ID. Pindrop Security found 33,000 reports of it across the nation. Here scammers can use numbers from the local police department to trick you.

NBC Los Angeles: FBI Warns of ‘Virtual Kidnapping’ Scam Targeting Tourists – Imagine getting a phone call with a strange voice on the line, telling you that a loved one has been kidnapped and that you must send money, or they will die. But, there is no kidnapping — it is a phone scam that is becoming so popular the FBI has issued a warning.

Live Mint: De-jargoned: What is SIM swap fraud? – The fraudster will first collect your personal banking information through phishing, vishing, smishing or any other means. Once the fraudster has your personal information, he gets your SIM blocked. Next, he obtains a duplicate SIM card.

The Blaze: ‘Swatting’ Prank Ends Horribly for Victim — and He Has the Injury to Prove It – Five months ago a Howard County Police SWAT team descended upon his apartment building. In the incident, Dobbs was shot with a rubber bullet in the face and has had to endure surgeries as a result. It turns out Dobbs did nothing wrong. He had been “swatted.”

Daily Mail: Phone fraudsters pose as experts from Apple – ‘Someone will receive a bogus phone call from someone claiming they are an Apple engineer who says they have noticed a problem and that they can fix it remotely if they can just get some credit card details so they can take a fee of £30. It’ s done there and then.’

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