May 22 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, social engineering attacks target enterprise employees and Forbes reports on the scary new world of tax fraud.

On Tuesday, Enterprise Technology published an interview with Chris Hadnagy, CEO of security consulting and training firm Social-Engineer. Hadnagy pointed out that “The attacker doesn’t want to take the sexiest route. They want to take the easiest route.” Today, that easy route is over the phone. According to Hadnagy, “Now software is more hardened, now the network is better protected, we see phone calls as the main vector for getting through.”

Earlier in the week, Forbes explored recent shift in the tax fraud landscape. In years past, most tax fraud tax fraud was straightforward. Taxpayers deliberately understated income or overstated deductions to cheat the system for their own benefit. Today, phone scams and identity theft have become the tax fraud techniques of choice.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

The Valley Breeze: Competitive Chimney Sweep warns of phone scam – Our company phone number appears on a homeowners caller ID as if we are making a call to them. All of my business comes from word of mouth, my website, and sometimes local advertising. I have never resorted to telemarketing nor do I ever plan to. Which N.J. towns have been hit in latest swatting surge? Check this map – Nearly two dozen anonymous “swatting” hoaxes within roughly the past year have strained the manpower and resources of local authorities and frenzied a number of New Jersey towns caught up in the false alarms.

The Register: Robocalling Americans? That’ll cost you $1.7 MEEELLION – The defendants blasted thousands of people with illegal robocalls and lied about helping relieve their credit card debt, said FTC consumer protection director Jessica Rich. Now they’re out of the robocall business.

China Daily: Three brothers among 42 held in phone fraud gang raids – The gang was investigated and found to have committed 45 telephone fraud cases involving more than 800,000 yuan ($129,032) in past months, while victims have mainly come from Guangdong, Heilongjiang, Sichuan and Jilin provinces, Chen said

NPR Marketplace Tech: Swatting: not a new phenomenon, but the cost is rising – For hackers, new technology is making swatting both easier to pull off and more attractive. The rise of live-streaming video games and other content online means the potential audience for swatting has gone from a few targets to thousands or tens of thousands.

Enterprise Tech: Social Engineering Targets Weakest Security Link: Employees – “When software was more vulnerable we saw more attacks that involved hacking into software. Now software is more hardened, now the network is better protected, we see phone calls as the main vector for getting through,” Hadnagy told Enterprise Technology.

E27: Top seed, early and later stage investors you should know – The year 2015 is brimming with confidence when it comes to startup investments. As many as 223 investments have been made by the top 15 Crunchbase early venture funding stage investors this year. Andreessen Horowitz is one of the most active names.

Bangor Daily News: Phony medication call centers target military families – A call from a generally begins with the caller claiming to be from a sound-alike agency, “calling to tell you about a prescription pain cream you qualify for that TRICARE will cover.” The caller asks for the name of the client’s doctor and other TRICARE information.

Bank Info Security: N.Y. to Propose Cybersecurity Regulations – A ‘harder is better’ strategy [for authentication] often results in annoying good customers and users, while the bad guys can still get in, Litan says. “Some of the most effective controls are detection models that work behind the scenes and don’t impose extra steps.”

ABC AU: Romance scams led to biggest financial fraud losses in 2014, ACCC says – Romance-based schemes accounted for the biggest losses, a report from the ACCC has found. One surprising finding was that 53 per cent of the reported scams were solicited over the phone, via calls or text message, while 38 per cent were online.

Telecom Paper: ITSPA advises on reporting telephony fraud to authorities – UK VoIP industry association ITSPA has published guidance for its members on how to report telephony fraud to law enforcement agencies. The body cites an estimate that telecom fraud costs the industry over GBP 46 billion a year around the world.

Softpedia: WhatsApp Video Calling Scam Harvests Phone Numbers – Now a new ruse is employed, as support for video calls has recently been implemented by the company. The end goal of the scammers is to collect the WhatsApp numbers, probably to create a database with targets for different malicious campaigns.

TV NZ: Scammers con hundreds by spoofing Immigration NZ phone number – The scammers use a practice known as “caller ID spoofing” to make it appear as though they’re phoning from an official government department number – and then threaten to prosecute or deport the students unless they immediately pay a fee.

Main Street: Has Your Phone Number Been Stolen? Another Apple Pay Fraud Hits the Nation – It works like this. The criminal needs a credit card issued in your name and – to foil bank security – and he also wants your phone number. That is because many financial institutions are using a phone call as an added security measure.

Dothan First: Another phone scam: this time claiming to be from the Attorney General’s office – Attorney General Luther Strange warns of a new scam in Alabama involving callers who claim to be from the Attorney General’s Office attempting to collect a debt. Someone pretending to be from the calls the victim and threatens arrest if a bill is not paid.

USA Today: Phone call claiming IRS debt is a scam – The reason this scam is so successful is that people fear the IRS and may be willing to take rash actions to avoid trouble, Zoeller said in a statement issued by his office Friday. “Unfortunately, once you pay these criminals, that money is likely lost forever.”

Dorset Echo: HANG UP ON FRAUDSTERS: Dorset resident minutes from £20k phone scam – A Dorset resident was only saved from being scammed out of £20,000 by phone fraudsters when their bank flagged up the irregular transfer at the last minute. The victim was contacted by someone claiming to be from the fraud department of their bank.

WCTV: Phone Scam Predators Pose as Publisher’s Clearing House – Scammers call the victim and tell them that they have won $950,000 in the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes. Victims are then told that before they can get it, they have to pay the required taxes. The first victim was told to pay $950.00.

Secure IT News: Elevated authentication in the enterprise – Enterprises have always lived on the painful edge of the “security vs. usability” debate. Authentication must deliver enough assurance to match the requirements. But when enterprises make draconian authentication choices, users will find a way to bypass the system.

Forbes: The Scary New World of Tax Fraud – Now, a growing share of such fraud is about crooks using the identities of innocent taxpayers to steal money. If you have a home phone or an email account, these scams are hard to miss. We are inundated with phishing, spoofing, and all variety of cyberscams.

American Banker: Biometrics Find Support from an Unlikely Demographic: Seniors – Rick Swenson, USAA’s fraud operational excellence and strategic initiatives executive, said he thought the demographic adopting biometrics would skew toward millennials, but the makeup of users has turned out to be different.

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