Jan. 9, 2015 – The Week in Phone Fraud

TWIPF2This week in phone fraud, voice biometric security makes a splash at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, and Information Week predicts trends in financial institution fraud management.

This week featured articles from eWeek and Bloomberg BusinessWeek on the 2015 Consumer Electronics show going on now in Las Vegas. Both publications reported that voice biometrics have become the “hottest security area of interest.” New biometric based devices being demonstrated at CES include cars that start with voice recognition, voiceprint secured electronic wallets, and voice activated light bulbs.

On Monday, Wesley Wilhelm of InformationWeek Bank Systems and Technology published a detailed breakdown of fraud trends that banks need to be prepared for in the coming year. Wilhelm predicts that the rollout of EMV cards will cause fraudsters to increase their social engineering attacks on financial institution call centers and invent new cross-channel fraud schemes.


Full Breakdown of This Week’s Phone Fraud News

Business Quarter: Think-tank probes fraud prevention – Four legal firms have been targeted by fraudsters with vishing attacks, and collectively have had £2 million taken from their accounts. The scammers gain the confidence of those they call to obtain important information and access account funds.

Consumerist: Banks Want to Robocall You When It’s Important, But Not Important Enough to Speak to a Human – Back in October, the American Bankers Association petitioned the FCC for certain exemptions from the TCPA that would allow banks to make certain robocalls to consumers who haven’t given their consent.

The Hill: Cellphones ‘under attack’ from robocalls, consumer advocates warn – The NCLC and NACA warn the FCC is “poised to open the floodgates” to robocalls from banks and debt collectors. Based on conversations they’ve had with the FCC, the consumer advocates say they’re concerned the agency will “gut” the TCPA.

The State: Police investigate phone scam targeting Winthrop students – Winthrop’s police chief, Frank Zebedis, said the calls appear on caller ID as coming from the Rock Hill Police Department. The caller then identifies himself as a Winthrop employee and informs the student that they have an outstanding balance on their campus account.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Your Next Password is Unhackable, Unforgettable, and Not Even a Password – The solution is not a better password but something else entirely. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, several companies are betting that the something else is you. Remember: We are all snowflakes.

Sun Herald: Phone scam scaring people with fake arrest warrant – Brisolara said the victims have been contacted via telephone and advised that a warrant for their arrest has been issued for missing jury duty. The scammer then offers to drop all charges for a small fee and requests banking information.

ZDNet: Spam Nation, book review: Inside today’s cybercrime ecosystem – Krebs, who spent 14 years at the The Washington Post, finds himself breaking all his own security and safety rules while chasing feuding interviewees in Russia. Anything for the story – including cold-calling pharma spam customers appearing in a hacked database.

Telecoms Tech: Hardening VoIP Systems: Challenges and Solutions – The number of VoIP implementations is changing dramatically and many exploit tools are on the market to bring down the VoIP systems. It is necessary for us to safeguard our VoIP systems by properly designing, deploying and analyzing VoIP traffic on a daily basis.

Daily News: Scammers trying to collect on magazine subscriptions – Barb Arnett said she recently received a phone call from a woman claiming to be a representative of a magazine to which she subscribes. She said the callers had the correct name of the magazine, as well as her name and address.

eWeek: CES 2015: Why Biometric IT is Finally Moving Into Prime Time – Passwords are unquestionably on the way out when it comes to device or account security. It’s simply too easy for a motivated hacker with the right tools to discover one or more of a typical user’s passwords and do serious damage to bank and credit accounts.

International Business Times: GamerGate trolls send police to wrong address in botched swatting attack – Police in Portland, Oregon, dispatched 20 officers to an address following a call about an armed hostage situation. While they were drawing up a plan, the Portland Central Precinct learned the call was probably a hoax.

Livingston Daily: Police praise bank teller for stopping fraud against WWII veteran – The Pinckney Police Department is praising a PNC Bank teller’s efforts in preventing an attempt to defraud a World War II veteran. Sgt. William Cook said police were notified of a customer who had come into the Pinckney branch around 3:40 p.m.

Information Week: Plan Ahead for Financial Institution Fraud Management in 2015 – As mass data compromises of card details and personally identifying information increase and EMV cards become more prevalent, fraudsters will continue to increase their social engineering attacks on the financial institution’s call centers.

Hawaii News Now: Police say phone scam targeting elderly traced to Hawaii man – Phone scams targeting the elderly are common and usually without resolution as the scams often originate in other countries, but Honolulu Police say they’ve traced one scam to a Salt Lake man, an engineer for the State Department of Transportation.

Motley Fool: 3 Common Tax Scams and How to Avoid Them – One common scam that happens during tax season involves callers pretending to be IRS agents. There are many varieties of this scam, but scammers generally try to get the victim to pay an outstanding tax debt that doesn’t actually exist.

The Columbian: Declaring world war on phone scammers – For years you thought your Caller ID would tip you by flashing “Caller Unknown” or some 800 number. But that is so very 20th century. Today’s con artists start by conning your Caller ID; they can make it show any fake number they want.

Sunday Post: Cuts to Scotland’s fraud squad could leave thousands vulnerable to scams – Police Scotland has cut the number of officers in its economic crime unit that tackles fraud. The step is in direct contrast to that in England, where forces are hiring more specialist cops to deal with a rising tide of fraud.

Independent Online: Young adults are the easiest to scam – They might be tech-savvy, but under-25s are much easier to fool when conmen try tricks such as ‘vishing’, where personal details are obtained over the phone. Those aged 45 to 54 were wariest, with one in 17 saying they would back a transfer.

National Federation of Retail News: Five scams to watch out for in 2015 – Members are reminded to be on their guard against a number of potential scams. The NFRN is renewing warnings to members to beware of companies claiming to help shopkeepers get their business rates reduced in return for large fees.

Pulse: Cyber Security Trends in 2015 – 2014 witnessed an exponential data breach increase; politically motivated cyber attacks, zero-days and targeted malware marked it as the year of cyber breach. Basic bottom line is that nobody is immune; banks, entertainment, health and government all shared the bitter taste of being hacked.

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