In This Section


May 29 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, phone scams to increase following IRS data breach and a UK man loses £176,000 to Ferrari phone scam.

This week the news broke that hackers have attacked the IRS, accessing tax information for more than 100,000 Americans. CBS Moneywatch spoke to Gartner’s Avivah Litan about the long term effects of the data breach. Litan highlighted possible follow up phone scams, including fake credit monitoring offers and more targeted and threatening back-taxes scams.

According to an article in the Telegraph this Sunday, fraudsters in the UK are using Fiat’s recent announcement that it will sell shares of Ferrari to the public later this year as an opportunity for phone scams. Police are now investigating a network of fraudsters cold calling consumers and offering to sell Ferrari IPO shares. One leading London scientist has reported losing more than £176,000 to the scam.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News Bamboozled: How 1 ring on your cell phone can turn into 1 big bill – Wireless callers have been receiving calls from numbers with a three-digit area code, according to the Federal Communications Commission. The calls appear to be domestic, but they’re actually coming from an international pay-per-call fraud ring.

CBC News: Phone scammers claim to be surveying for CBC programming – The callers claim they’re conducting a survey for an upcoming CBC program. They’re not. Phonse Chiasson said he got a call yesterday from a man who asked him questions about his investments – specifically, investments in the oil and gas industry.

The Hindu: Vishing fraud: The call of deception – By mentioning the card details and CVV numbers, they tricked customers into revealing the One Time Password (OTP) received after using the victims’ cards to transfer cash to Airtel Money, a mobile wallet application.

The Argus: Warning issued as 71 victims lose cash totalling £526,682 in scams in Sussex so far this year – Sussex Police has released a new video to highlight vulnerable victims of fraud. The film features Dennis, aged 87 from Worthing, who was conned out of about £1,000 by scammers who contacted him pretending to be his bank as well as the police.

Portland Press Herald: Scammer dials Maine state trooper; phone traced to Georgia – The caller had voicemail set up so that when someone called the number back, the voicemail identified the phone as belonging to ‘Officer Evans from Somerset County Sheriff’s Office. “These scams are becoming much more sohpisticated,” Lancaster said.

Reddit: IamA gov’t attorney challenging hackers at National Day of Civic Hacking & DEF CON to defeat robocalls. AMA! – Current technology makes the robocall problem a tough nut to crack, and one of the things we can do is to tap into the ingenuity and technical expertise among the public. We’re hosting contests to inspire inforsec experts them to apply that knowledge to this issue.

The Valley Breeze: ‘Phone spoofing’ creates nightmare for Woonsocket company – When someone started “spoofing” the CCS number to homes across the Blackstone Valley last week, the complaints came rolling in. “I can’t answer the phone fast enough,” said receptionist Paula Gingras. “We’re a teeny, tiny little business.”

The New York Times: I.R.S. Data Breach May Be Sign of More Personalized Schemes – “There was no identity theft within the I.R.S.’s actual system. These people already had all of this data. They could have used this information to call your bank, your doctor, your insurance carrier, and they would have gotten through 100% of the time.”

Huffington Post: Swatting, But Not at Flies – Last week our local elementary school received a disturbing phone call. In a pre-recorded voice, the speaker said that he was armed and preparing to attack the school. The local SWAT team was on the scene almost before the call ended.

LA Times: FCC moves to crack down on unwanted robocalls – A proposal by the head of the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday would strengthen consumers’ rights and give phone companies the green light to offer technologies to block most robocalls and spam text messages.

CBS Moneywatch: The IRS hack: Beware of follow-up scams – The thieves will use the IRS information to bolster their attempts to impersonate IRS officers who call and threaten jail or lawsuits to people who don’t send them money. “Now they’re going to have additional information, like the actual balance owed.”

The Roanoke Star: A Threatening Scam – You are instructed to meet the caller at a designated location, which turned out to be the Police Station where you will be taken to a “special room” where the money gram will be scanned into the “NCSI Automated Data Bank.”

CW2: Scammers target new college grads for identity theft with fake calls, threats – Melissa Bingham says she got a call from a phone number that matches the main line for the Colorado Department of Education. “They had my middle name…The fact that they knew my degree and that I had just graduated, that was really, really bizarre.”

CTV News: Rash of ‘swatting’ calls in Canada causes panic, wastes police resources – It is a high-stakes prank that creates confusion amongst emergency services and sparks panic in those who are victimized. There has been a rash of recent “swatting” calls in Canada, but police say there’s “nothing” funny about the behaviour.

Deseret News: The most difficult jobs for robots – A new study, “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?” calculated how likely individual jobs were to be filled by computers. Telemarketers are most likely to be replaced by machines. This is no surprise given the rise of “robocalls.”

News XX: Residents warned of phone scam by ATO fraudsters in South Australia – Would-be scammers claiming to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) are operating in Australia. The callers were “intimidating people into paying a fake tax debt.” ATO does make calls to people about debt, but never in such an “aggressive and demanding way.”

Tech Times: Teen Hacker Pleads Guilty To Charges Of Swatting Against Female Gamers Who Turned Him Down – The teenager from British Columbia, whose name is not allowed to be revealed due to being a minor, victimized female gamers that resisted his advances and rejected his friend requests on the popular online game League of Legends.

The Telegraph: ‘I lost £176,000 to fake Ferrari share fraudsters’ – A British man has handed savings worth £176,000 to fraudsters in what is so far the biggest reported case of the emerging “fake Ferrari” shares scam. The “opportunity” is proving convincing to some investors, largely because it is based on a half truth.

Derby Telegraph: Derbyshire schools put on alert for phone hacking – Derbyshire schools have been put on alert for what has been described as “phone phreaking”. Third parties intercept phone lines and make fraudulent international or premium rate calls. The school is likely to be liable as bill payer for any unauthorised calls made.

The Fredrick News-Post: New phone scam tricks victims into believing relatives were abducted – The scammer called them and pretended to have been in an accident with someone related to them. The scammer claimed to be an illegal immigrant and did not want to involve the police, then demanded money, pretending to hold a relative hostage.

CBC News: National Do Not Call List number used in phone scam – The fake operators disguise the number to look like the National Do Not Call List, a government agency that removes people’s phone numbers from telemarketers’ lists. They say “Your number is about to expire, and we need to update it with your current information.”

The Oregonian: 4 ways scammers target veterans and troops – Impostors pose as employees with the Department of Veterans Affairs and call to “verify” personal information, sometimes using scare tactics like VA benefits cancellations to collect birthdates, Social Security numbers and bank account information.

Reuters: Stuck in Gaza, hackers open lines to the world – With jobs scarce and time on their hands, some tech-savvy Gazans have found a new way to make money – hacking Internet-based phone lines and routing international calls for a fee. Gaza’s isolation may be the hackers’ best protection.

Introducing Pindrop® Express – Authenticate without compromise.