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October 9 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2 This week in phone fraud, what criminals do with information from data breaches and an expose on Jamaican lottery scams.

This week NPR reported on the long term effects of data breaches like the one recently exposed at credit data agency Experian. Avivah Litan of Gartner was interviewed, discussing the way hackers sell this information on the black market for others to use in phone fraud and other scams.

On Wednesday, CNN published a disturbing story of an elderly man who was driven to suicide after losing $5,000 in a Jamaican lottery scam. CNN goes on to examine the Jamaican lottery scam industry and the challenges law enforcement faces to shut it down.


Mirror: Telephone banking fraud doubles in a year – The figures from Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA-UK) showed that losses due to telephone banking fraud have nearly doubled over the last year – from £7.4 million in the first half of 2014 to £14.4 million between January and June 2015.

BBC: Legal career ‘hit by vishing scam’ – This lady introduced herself as Joanne Howard from NatWest saying that one of my accounts had been compromised and that I should phone the number on the back of my debit card, which is the helpline. We ended the call and I then phoned that number.

NPR Marketplace Tech: When it comes to hacking, the aim isn’t always fraud – She estimated that only about 6 percent of consumers whose identities are stolen end up facing financial fraud. In almost all cases, she said, hackers are more apt to sell stolen identity data to other countries looking to spy on Americans.

This is Money: Why fraudsters want to steal your data, what companies do with your information and how to keep your life private – The trick is performed over the phone as well, referred to as voice phishing or ‘vishing’, with fraudsters often pretending to be from the police or from your bank. All they need for this is your name and phone number.

The Times of India: Cyber thieves spend loot on mobile phones – Mobile phones worth anything between Rs 15,000 and Rs 30,000 are the most purchased items through fraud money, Portable speakers worth between Rs 1,300 and Rs 4,500 come second. Those looking to spend money in one go buy high-end LEDs/LCDs online as well.

CFO: Big Data and Biometrics: Money Well Spent? – Undoubtedly, biometrics will be part of the commercial environment in the future, and the timing of corporate investments in this area is key. Interested companies must remain aware of the emerging legal landscape, and careful contracting is essential.

The Law Gazette: Insurer warns on phone fraud against firms – So-called ‘vishing’ frauds typically involve an individual phoning a firm’s cashier ‘to confirm recent transactions’. The cashier is lulled into giving out information such as challenge responses that the fraudsters use to empty bank accounts.

Emory Wheel: HackATL Promotes Entrepreneurship at Emory – At the third annual HackATL, which will take place from Oct. 16 to 18, students will come together to spend their weekend creating a startup business. Their ideas will be pitched to real investors at the end of the competition and the winners will receive prizes.

CNN: Driven to death by phone scammers – Albert Poland was in the grips of a Jamaican lottery scammer — part of a cottage industry that targets nearly 300,000 Americans a year, most of them elderly, and has enticed them to send an estimated $300 million annually to the Caribbean island nation.

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