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Mar. 20 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, the New York Times asks who’s to blame for Apple Pay fraud and banks and retailers expect a wave of CNP fraud.

Apple Pay Fraud was back in the news this week, as experts began playing the blame game. In a statement to the New York Times, Apple put the problem on the shoulders of banks, who need to improve their call center approval process. However, the article also pointed out that banks were so desperate to get first mover advantage in accepting Apple Pay, they felt they could not push Apple to provide more detailed information for authentication. In our Friday blog post, we explained how the Apple Pay attacks reinforce what Pindrop engineers see everyday at our customer sites.

Another hot topic this week was the EMV Chip & PIN Transition, and the wave of Card Not Present (CNP) fraud that will come with it. American Banker reported that financial institutions can expect to see a spike in fake banking accounts as a result. Meanwhile, Payments Source wrote that retailers should plan for increased levels of “friendly fraud” online and over the phone.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Fraud News

Pindrop Blog: Who Are the Criminals Behind Apple Pay Fraud? – The Apple Pay attacks reinforce what Pindrop engineers see everyday at our customer sites. Fraudsters know more about your security and authentication procedures than even your call center reps.

Payments Source: Shift to Digital Payments Enables More Friendly Fraud – Friendly fraud typically occurs when the accountholder authorizes a purchase and then later claims it to be fraud. As more payments move away from cash, more consumers are tempted to use this method to recoup funds spent on a legitimate purchase.

Main St.: Stop Buying Into the Airlines’ Bereavement Fare Mythology – “People were just scamming it and, for the airlines, it was just so time-consuming to confirm things by calling the funeral home and calling the hospital that they just said ‘to hell with it.’ People just abused it too much.”

Kirotv: Seattle man fears he was targeted because of disabilities – She left a voicemail that her company had “received a fax regarding a case recently filed with the Department of Legal Services.” Lewis said he was initially frightened by the call, concerned that his disability benefits might be in jeopardy.

The Globe and Mail: Swatting escalates from rare prank to serious concern for police – “Swatting” has morphed from a rare prank into something common. A generation ago, the person responsible for a prank pizza delivery could be found by tracing phone numbers, modern day anonymity tools make it difficult to catch those responsible.

Pindrop Blog: Iowa’s Phone Fraud Warning Sends Mixed Signals to Taxpayers – Iowa is essentially telling residents that they will never make automated phone calls about tax refunds, but automated phone calls about taxes owed may be legitimate. Many Iowans are likely to be confused by this warning.

American Banker: As Big Banks Prep for EMV, Fraud Relief Remains Far Off – When the U.K. shifted to EMV cards, counterfeit card fraud fell 56%, according to Aite, but card-not-present fraud rose 79% in the first three years after the country switched to chip cards. It more than doubled in Australia and Canada.

Forbes: It’s Not A Scam: IRS Is Really Sending Out Identity Verification Letters – I know: this sounds like a scam. You’re right to be suspicious. I just reported on a bogus IRS verification email scam making the rounds. But this is legit. You’re not going to be asked to verify your identification via phone calls.

Daily News: Colorado con man posing as IRS agent stops scamming victim after realizing she is 9-months pregnant – And then he says, ‘wait, wait, wait, wait, you’re pregnant?’ And I said, ‘yes!’ And he goes ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, this is a scam. You’re OK. We’re scamming you. Please stop crying,’

ZDNet: Internet of things: Sillier and scarier and coming your way – It’s far more of a concern with smart TVs, smart phones, and devices like Amazon’s Echo that can listen in to what you say, but even data about when lights go off and on can prove useful to hackers, especially if they want to sell that information to criminals.

Pindrop Blog: Pindrop on Retail Call Center Fraud at Merchant Risk Council 2015 – Retail call centers present an ideal target for phone fraudsters. Because phone transactions do not require a physical card swipe, fraudsters can use the same stolen identity information they use for online attacks.

Fortune: 6 notorious hackers and their second careers – Mark Abene became famous as the hacker known as “Phiber Optik.” In 1992, he went to Federal prison after pleading guilty to hacking into Southwestern Bell, a subsidiary of AT&T. Despite this, Ernst & Young snapped him up when he was a free man.

Fortune: The biometric tech that could kill the password – The number of recent hacks would tell you the humble password is probably due for the technology scrap heap. Apple, Alibaba, and other companies are turning to biometrics for verification — utilizing your hands, face, even your voice — to log you in.

The Wall Street Journal: No, That’s Not the IRS Calling. Just Hang Up. – Mr. Camus cautioned taxpayers against engaging with scammers, especially if the interaction could seem like taunting. There have been reports of angry scammers calling 911 and reporting an emergency on behalf of the victim—causing yet more trouble.

Lockton Solicitors: Fraud Update: Fake Law Firms & ‘Vishing’ on the Rise – Using spyware, fraudsters monitor your client account transactions and use the information to gain your trust, usually by alerting you to a problem with the payment. They have even hijacked phone lines to make calls look as though they are from your bank.

Ventura County Star: Camarillo boy, 13, connected to local ‘swatting’ incidents – A 13-year-old Camarillo boy was cited Tuesday on suspicion of reporting false emergencies .The Sheriff’s Office sent more than 18 units to the scene, including SWAT officers, police dogs and detectives. Authorities determined it was a false report.

The New York Times: Pointing Fingers in Apple Pay Fraud – The banks, desperate to become their customers’ default card on Apple Pay — most add only one to their iPhones — did little to build their own defenses or to push Apple to provide more detailed information about its customers.

Federal Reserve Bank: Squeezing the Fraud Balloon – The time to examine and improve your fraud detection capabilities across all the channels customers use is now. Financial institutions should already be evaluating their processes and account activity parameters to spot problem accounts early.

Time: IRS Agent or Scammer? 5 Signs You’re Being Conned – A nasty con is on the rise involving fake IRS agents who call up potential victims and demand payment for back taxes. Scammers who pretend to be IRS agents and harass unsuspecting citizens have been quite busy over the last two years.

Tax News: US Congress Examines Tax Fraud Problems – At a Senate Finance Committee hearing on March 12, there were calls for increased multi-agency cooperation in the United States to combat the various schemes and scams prevalent during the US tax filing season.

Daily Mail: Beware of the pension sharks: Flood of spam texts and cold calls ‘could create the next PPI scandal’ – Changes to pension rules could result in a flood of spam calls from fraudsters, the ICO warned last night. anyone cold called by a firm offering them a free pensions review should ‘put the phone down’.

USA Today: Why you’re still plagued by robocalls – One reason for the continuing calls is that recent telephone technology, while it has made our calls cheaper, has also made robocalling easier. There’s also the fact that it’s easy to hide one’s number on caller ID, making it hard for officials to track the calls.

CNN: IRS scam costing victims $15 million – They are very convincing when they call. They have a Washington phone number and can cite your financial history down to the cent. They say you’re under investigation, in danger of losing your home, or worse, your freedom — unless you pay thousands of dollars.

CSO Online: Apple Watch worries security advocates – The Apple Watch supports Apple Pay — and inherits its security problems. Although there have been no problems reported with the system itself, crooks have been able to activate stolen credit cards numbers and make purchases in physical stores.

Intuit: Tax Time Phone Scams on the Rise – TurboTax®, from Intuit Inc. (Nasdaq: INTU) offers taxpayers the following advice to protect themselves from tax time scams, and reminds Americans that the IRS will never call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

Mirror: A call centre just got busted for making 6 million spam calls a day – how to stop the pestering – Anyone who receives unwanted marketing calls can complain to the ICO. But, there is a major flaw in these rules because they require ICO to prove it caused “substantial damage or distress” before action can be taken.

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