FBI: Dirty deedsters are tweaking telephony attacks; coercion

Scam artists turning again to Telephony Denial of Service (TDoS) attacks

Scam artists continue to evolve their nasty side.  The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is reporting an increase in what 's known as Telephony Denial of Service (TDoS) attacks where criminals have tied up victims' employers phone systems in an effort to extort money.  The IC3 said some of these attacks have been directed at emergency service agencies, preventing them from receiving and responding to legitimate emergency calls.

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The FBI said perpetrators in some cases are suspected of using automated dialing programs and multiple accounts to overwhelm the land and cell phone lines of their victims with thousands of calls.

The IC3 said the technique is an offshoot of an old scam where victims are relentlessly contacted at their residences and places of employment regarding claims they are delinquent on a payday loan. Various coercion techniques have been used by the subjects in an attempt to persuade the victim to send money. Such techniques have evolved from repeated annoying phone calls to abusive language, threats of bodily harm, and arrests.

Coercion is also at the root of another scam the IC3 warned about.  Here scammers are spoofing a local police department's telephone number, calling victims and trying to convince that a warrant for their arrest exists, usually for a failed payment of some sort.  The IC3 said that in order to have the police actually respond to the victim's residence, the subject places repeated, harassing calls to the local police department while spoofing the victim's telephone number.

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In 2010 the FBI warned consumers about TDoS attacks being used as a diversion to scammers stealing money.  In that case the FBI determined fraudsters compromised victim accounts and contacted financial institutions to change the victim profile information (email addresses, telephone numbers and bank account numbers).

When victims answered the calls they heard dead air, an innocuous recorded message, advertisement, or a telephone sex menu. Calls were typically short in duration but so numerous that victims changed their phone numbers to terminate the attack, the FBI said. Fraudsters were afforded adequate time to transfer funds from victim brokerage and financial online accounts, the FBI stated.

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