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Scammers are changing how they spoof calls to trick consumers

‘Enterprise spoofing’ can cost consumers thousands of dollars

Photo (c) DjelicS - Getty Images
Another week, another major personal data breach? Well, it’s certainly starting to look like that.

A new report reveals that on top of billions of consumer’s private identification data being exposed, scammers are now using the stolen information as part of a new scam game plan called enterprise spoofing.

In its just released Scam Call Trends and Projections Report, First Orion -- a call management and transparency solutions provider -- analyzed 40 billion calls made to consumers and found that some robocall scammers are revamping their game to a “quality over quantity” tactic. 

The essence of the gambit is that scammers go straight to the consumer using previously thieved personal information, pretending to be legitimate companies, and then fleecing the consumer for all the money they can get. And the hit rate is pretty good -- First Orion reports that 75 percent of the victims reveal that the scammers used their personal information as part of the ploy. 

The new boss is not the same as the old boss

So, why the change in tactics? Scott Hambuchen, Chief Information Officer at First Orion, says it that scammers are simply adapting to how consumers react to phone calls. “As consumers stop answering their phones, fraudsters are recalibrating their strategies to maximize their effectiveness,” he said.

The change is paying off handsomely for the scammers. Hambuchen says that among the consumers who lost over $1,000 to one of these scam calls, 32 percent report that the caller ID represented a familiar business. One of those “familiar” businesses is Apple, which was reportedly spoofed earlier this year. ConsumerAffairs recently reported that the U.S. government is also being used as part of the new spoofing strategy.

While finding a way around the enterprise spoofing masquerade is not a project most companies want to take on, Hambuchen lays the task squarely at the business world’s feet.  

“As fraudsters are changing tactics, tapping into stolen data from the massive breaches, we are seeing enterprise spoofing on known business numbers drive call volume increases of over 100X in a matter of hours,” Hambuchen said. “To address this ongoing issue, mobile carriers and enterprises alike need to identify and adapt to scammers’ evolving practices to protect and enhance the business-to-consumer calling experience.”

Be on your guard

If the scam world is upping its game, that means the consumer will have to up theirs, as well.

First Orion’s report lays out the kinds of information the enterprise spoofers have a proven knack in getting. That information includes the following:

  • Home address

  • Mother's maiden name

  • Usernames and passwords

  • Social Security number details

  • Products and services purchased

“Over a quarter of victims reported that scam callers could identify specific products and services they had purchased,” the report found, “while a staggering 17 percent of scam victims reported that the scam callers were able to verify all or part of their social security number.”

And help if you can

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is wise to what’s going on, and it recently filed lawsuits against companies responsible for making more than a billion illegal robocalls to consumers nationwide. 

The FTC knows that dealing with scammers is grating on consumers, but it’s asking those who experience these calls to act accordingly to stop them from spreading. As part of “Operation Call It Quits,” the agency is asking consumers to read up on the new wrinkles in robo scams, report any suspicious calls, and share articles and videos on the subject with friends.

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