Phone Phishing Scams That Sound Like The Real Thing

By on October 11, 2018

October 11, 2018

If anything, it’s even more insidious than phishing by email. One of their targets got a succession of calls from what appeared to be his credit union. A security-conscious guy, he let two go to voicemail, but he picked up a third and listened as a knowledgeable-sounding woman told him the credit union had blocked two suspicious charges on his credit card, a card that she identified by its last four numbers. That began an interchange that appeared to make nearly perfect sense. He would need to get a new card, of course, and the woman read him his home address just to make sure they had it right when they mailed it to him. She also asked him to confirm his mother’s maiden name, and then she asked for his current pin number, so he’d be able to keep it when he got his new card. That didn’t seem quite right, but he gave it to her, and soon started to worry. A trip down to his credit union confirmed the worst. By the time he got there, thousands of dollars had been charged on his account and there’d been a $500 cash withdrawal. The writer, security blogger Brian Krebs, recounts some more case histories, including one near miss that targeted a computer savvy person who had been the founder of a software company. He finally thwarted a remarkably convincing robo-caller by asking what the weather was like up there in “Barrie, Ontario,” where the phone ID had indicated the call had come from. ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have that information,” said the voice. “Would you like me to transfer you to someone that does?’ Krebs concludes with some advice for keeping this plague at bay. Mainly it involves terminating the call and phoning up the company itself. That’s not always as simple as you might think, though. Scammers these days, he writes, are even “polluting top search engine results with phony 800-numbers for customer support lines that lead directly to fraudsters.”


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Krebs on Security

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