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Telecom Fraud Scams on the Rise

From the EU to Texas, law enforcement and security professionals are warning that the telecom threat landscape is evolving as fraudsters leverage telecom infrastructure to conduct network-based fraud attacks, according to multiple sources.

Infosecurity reported that according to the Cyber-Telecom Crime Report 2019 published by Europol and Trend Micro telecoms fraud costs the industry and end customers over €29bn ($33bn) each year. The report found that the evolution from switchboard operators to packet-switched networks and circuit switched networks in telecommunications has broadened the telecom threat landscape. As a result, criminals are supplanting traditional financial crimes with telecom fraud. 

While the report found that telecom fraud is increasingly originating from developing nations or failed economies, multiple media outlets across the US have warned of scam calls that are making their way around the country.

In both Ector County, Texas, and Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the sheriffs’ offices warned residents about a call scam that claims to be originating from the sheriff’s office. An audio clip tells the recipient that they failed to report to jury duty and must resolve this matter with urgency.

“Nationwide, these scammers are attempting to use the criminal justice system and the threat of arrest as a tool to frighten people into paying large sums of money,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian told 7 News. “We want residents to be aware of these scams and these tactics in order to better protect themselves.”

Likewise, the state of Washington has also seen a rise in these phone scams, and reporter David Rasbach of the Bellingham Herald warned: “Scammers often try to disguise their identities by spoofing the information that appears in your call identification display and trick you into answering. They use local area codes, numbers that may look familiar or even impersonate a legitimate business, utility or government agency.”

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