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July 24 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, phone scammers cancel ATM cards and the Ashley Madison breach causes Pindrop Labs to raise the Phone Threat Level.

Reports of a new variation on an old phone scam are coming out of Hong Kong. Attackers are impersonating bank fraud-detection teams, asking victims for help on an investigation. When victims are skeptical of the scam, the attacker calls the victim’s bank, impersonating the victim, and reports their card stolen, asking the bank to cancel the card. The victim, finding his card no longer works, thinks the attacker’s call must have been legitimate and calls back to cooperate.

On Thursday, news of the Ashley Madison data breach prompted the Pindrop Labs team to raise the current phone fraud threat level to 3, indicating a high-risk of phone-based threats. In a blog post, Pindrop Labs researchers detailed the many types of phone-based attacks that could result from the special circumstances of the dating site breach.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

Pindrop Blog: Phone Scam Breakdown: The Friday Afternoon Scam – Unlike many phone scams, spear phishing attacks are extremely targeted. The attacker does extensive research on a single executive in an attempt to steal intellectual property, financial data, or other trade secrets. Here, the attackers are specifically targeting CFOs.

Forbes: Have Scammers Hijacked Your Phone For Mobile Ad Fraud? – Using a technique that one ad fraud detection company calls mobile device hijacking, the scammers use mobile apps such as games that run as many as 20 ads a minute, then simulate random clicks. more than 12 million devices have been infected

CIO: FCC ruling could finally make telecoms eradicate ‘robocalls’ – This week, the attorneys general (AGs) of 44 states and Washington D.C. wrote a letter to the CEOs of five major telecommunications companies (AT&T, CenturyLink, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon) to tell them to cut off Rachel and her obnoxious cohorts.

Pindrop Blog: Ashley Madison Hack Opens Door to Phone Scams – With any major data breach, we expect to see an increase in phone scams. Criminals use the information to mount social engineering attacks on consumers. The recent attack on dating website Ashley Madison could take these types of phone scams to a new level.

Sun Times: Marco woman victim of $100,000 phone scam – Marco police say over 15 months, the recently windowed woman wrote checks totaling more than $100,000 while she had been in telephone contact with a group claiming to represent the Canadian lottery.

Information Law Group: The FCC TCPA Order: What Does My Business Need To Know? – The FCC has now released the TCPA Omnibus Declaratory Ruling and Order and statements from the Commission, including dissents by certain Commissioners. Below are key points that your business should know about the Order.

Wall Street Journal: State AGs Press Phone Companies to Make it Easier to Block Robocalls – “This clarification by the FCC should remove any doubt about your legal authority to empower consumers by providing call-blocking technology to help stop robocalls,” states Wednesday’s letter, which was signed by 44 state attorneys general.

Pindrop Blog: How to Spot Call Center Phone Fraud – We know that at least 1 in every 2200 calls to an enterprise call center is fraud, but how can we tell which one it is? Distinguishing between a legitimate caller and a phone fraudster is not always an easy task.

Pindrop Blog: Phone Scam Breakdown: Retail Purchase Order Scams – It seems like business as usual when one of your biggest customers calls to get a quote for a bulk shipment of toner and electronics. Everything looks normal, so you process and ship the order. That order was really placed by a scammer,

EJ Insight: Young man loses HK$500,000 in ‘Liaison Office’ phone scam – Callers told the man to transfer half a million dollars to a designated bank account if he wants to avoid a freeze on his funds. Wong then discovered that his bank card was not working. The fraudsters had reported to the bank earlier that Wong had lost his card.

WIRED: Hackers Remotely Kill a Jeep on the Highway—With Me in It – Uconnect computers are linked to the Internet by Sprint’s cellular network. Miller has a cheap burner phone as a Wi-Fi hot spot, scouring for targets using its thin 3G bandwidth. A set of GPS coordinates appears on the laptop screen. It’s a Dodge Ram.

FTC Blog: Adiós fake debt collectors – Thanks to the settlement, announced recently, the company is now banned from telemarketing and debt collecting. Among Centro Natural’s list of lures, lies and abuses, detailed in the FTC’s complaint was using Spanish-speaking telemarketers to call Latino consumers.

KGW: New phone scam uses 911 for ‘call spoofing’ tactic – 911 operators are warning of a new phone scam going around. This one makes it looks like 911 is calling you, then someone says you’ll be arrested if you don’t send money. What’s more, if you call back, it actually does call the real 911.

DNA Info: Fraudster Steals Nearly $2K from Upper West Side Dry Cleaner in Phone Scam – A local dry-cleaning business fell victim to a phone scam and forked over nearly $2,000 to a fraudster. A man dialed up Spotmaster Cleaners and said if the business didn’t pay an outstanding Con Edison bill of $1,897, the utility would shut off its power.

Schools Week: Fraudsters’ scams cost schools thousands – Schools have been scammed out of thousands of pounds after their phone systems were hacked and calls diverted to pricey premium-rate numbers. Schools Week can reveal that schools in England called in police to investigate up to five-figure phone bills last year.

Consumer Affairs: Senators introduce legislation to crack down on phone scams – The new law would build on the Truth in Caller ID Act by “requiring the FCC to detail where consumers can access technology to combat scams, establish a plan to develop caller ID authentication standards, and extend the prohibition on caller ID spoofing to include calls from abroad and text messaging services.”

Consumer Affairs: Philadelphia woman sues Comcast, alleging 9 months of robocalls for paid-off bill – Like the suit against Time-Warner Cable, Elder’s suit against Comcast is based on the federal TCPA, and asks for damages of $1,500 per call. Since Elder told Comcast that she’d paid off her debt, she’s seeking triple damages for every robocall Comcast made afterward.

FTC Blog: Scammers Impersonate the Police – You get a phone call. Someone you care about is in jail and, they say, you need to pay up to bail him out. You’re skeptical – but the caller ID says the call is from the police department. And, let’s be honest, your nephew is a knucklehead. So, you keep listening.

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