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Government Security United States Communications Network Networking Privacy The Almighty Buck The Courts The Internet Wireless Networking Hardware

US Federal Court: This Year's Scams More Aggressive and Sophisticated Than Years Past (networkworld.com) 62

coondoggie quotes a report from Network World: The fraud and scam war rages. This week the Federal Courts warned of swindles involving people posing as federal court officials and U.S. Marshals targeting citizens, threatening them with arrest unless they pay some fake fine for failing to show up for jury duty. "This year's scams are more aggressive and sophisticated than we've seen in years past," says Melissa Muir, Director of Administrative Services for the U.S. District Court of Western Washington in a statement. "Scammers are setting up call centers, establishing call-back protocols and using specific names and designated court hearing times." The bottom line: A federal court will never threaten an individual or demand the immediate payment -- either over the telephone or money wire service -- for fines or for not responding to a jury summons, the court stated.
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US Federal Court: This Year's Scams More Aggressive and Sophisticated Than Years Past

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  • but the thick accent (Indian? Pakistani? whatever) of an obviously non-native Engrish speaker kind of gave it away.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @04:42PM (#51803219) Homepage

      You know, in my experience I am forced to assume the "legitimate" call centers are staffed by the exact same people as the spammers, and that they likely collect the "legal" information to use for the illegal stuff.

      Can't prove this, but pretty much all incoming calls are bullshit these days ... unless I know the actual caller, I pretty much treat them all like they're scams. Heck, according to caller ID, apparently I've called myself on a few occasions.

      Incoming calls have pretty much become worthless, but occasionally spewing profanity at someone is a nice stress relief. I'm passed the point where I'm willing to treat you like a human.

      You're either fraudulent, or trying to sell me some shit I'm not interested in. Which means I place no value on your feelings.

      • Can you white list your phone's contact list? Is there an app for that?

        • On my land line? Not so easily. On my cell phone I actually do have an app which blocks stuff like that.

          But my Panasonic cordless phones can be set to hang up on "Unknown" and "Private Caller". That killed off many of the spam calls. If you won't identify yourself from me, I'm not interested in your call.

          Now they've started sending bogus caller ID, usually something relatively close to mine. So, you can't even rely on that any more.

          These days if I don't recognize the number or the caller ID, I just ign

          • "On my land line? Not so easily. On my cell phone I actually do have an app which blocks stuff like that."

            On your cell, no app needed for that: if it rings and a number comes up instead of a contact name, it's not in your whitelist.

            • You might need the app to block the number from ringing the phone, but still log it.

              Most land line phones don't store many numbers, and they don't block at all. The phone company does not offer that good of service.

          • On our work asterisk system I am going to try and get some anti-robodialer defenses in place... Hello, you appear to be a robot... Please go into detail on what you are trying to sell. Please enter your telephone number and we will call you back at our earliest convenience.

          • On my land line? Not so easily.

            You need to modernize your land line service. Such a feature is available on most land lines.

            • Back when I had a landline, the phone company did offer a blocking service. It was, of course, completely useless because they didn't allow you to block numbers any numbers you might want to block such as any large call center, because those numbers were used by their most favored customers. The best defense was an old computer with a faxmodem. If it was unknown number or a number used by a telemarketer, the computer would answer the call then immediately hang up. I still heard the first ring but otherw

    • by Notorious G ( 4223193 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @04:46PM (#51803249)
      It's a total scam because, like federal courts, the IRS does not robocall you about payment and threaten you to pay immediately. You get a letter in the mail, just like they did in 1950's.
      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        The reason these scams work is simple

        1) They sound plausible.
        2) They play upon our fears

        It SOUNDS plausible that you could be fined or whatever for missing a court date. And we are trained to avoid unpleasant outcomes, so they play upon our worst fears. If either of these things were not easy then the scams would fail repeatedly and be useless.

        For both of these things to be potentially true, says a great deal about our government systems. We believe Government cannot get enough money, and thus have fines an

        • by taustin ( 171655 )

          You forgot:

          3) PT Barnum was right. Without that, 1) and 2) don't matter.

      • The IRS can outsource collections to a 3rd party and this 3rd party will make such phones calls.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      but the thick accent...gave it away

      They should hire native-born Americans, perhaps a B1H, who lost their jobs to an H1B.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Bad assumption there. What makes you think there is any correlation between accent and legitimacy of calls? Particularly when 99% of sales centers seem to be located in India.

      A better assumption to make is that any unexpected business call is suspect. Get details regarding what they claim to be calling about, and if it seems potentially legit and something you care about look up contact details elsewhere and return the call on this number (*do not* use whatever number the caller leaves).

      Obvious red flags

  • If one of those crazy shooters went into some of these call centers and took care of the problem.

    • If one of those crazy shooters went into some of these call centers and took care of the problem.

      Tempting idea, but no crazy shooter is going to get through on a nineteen-hour Air India flight with a suitcase full of guns.

  • usually, i just hang up, but this time i had time to kill. he said "US Marshal" so i called him Mr. Marshall. we did the back-and-forth just like you've seen on some YouTube videos. spent a few minutes trying to get a mailing address from him, but he finally disconnected. haven't had another call since.
    • Reminds me of one of the true classics of our time....

      "Hello this is Lenny" [youtube.com]

    • Scambaiting can be fun. I had a scammer who wanted me to send him money for a fake car he listed for sale. It was amazing how much work he/she was willing to do when they thought I might actually fall for it. I never spent more than 1 minute putting together a response to each email, but I would ask stupid questions that required a detailed response on their part. I pretended I didn't understand their instructions so they had to write them differently instead of just sending canned responses.
  • But a state court... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Actually, I do RTFA ( 1058596 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @05:37PM (#51803493)

    A federal court will never threaten an individual or demand the immediate payment -- either over the telephone or money wire service -- for fines or for not responding to a jury summons, the court stated.

    On the other hand, state courts, esp. those who sold the rights to collect those fines to private companies, absolutely will. I think John Oliver had a section on it, but the first hit is apparently (the timelier/promoted) video of Samantha Bee. [youtube.com]

  • I get home and frequenty hear messages like this left on machine, "IRS has filed a claim and you need to call this number with 20 hours to avoid an arrest warrant."

    This is what the feds should place priority instead of spying on everyone's phone line. Oh wait, if they are doing that then how come they can't rope in these crooks?

  • by Ziest ( 143204 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @05:55PM (#51803603) Homepage

    Yeah, I had one of these guys call me the other day. I told him to come on over and arrest me. My lawyer, who lives across the street, and I would be waiting on my front steps. The little shit just hung up. Anyone who lets some clown on the phone intimidate them deserves to lose.

  • by slazzy ( 864185 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:11PM (#51803693) Homepage Journal
    Part of the problem is the bull-headed shitty tactics by government officials in the first place. We shouldn't have to fear being locked up in jail over taking a movie back late and forgetting to pay the $5 late fee. We'd be a lot less ready to give into the scams if there was less of this shit in the first place.
    • Part of the problem is the bull-headed shitty tactics by government officials in the first place. We shouldn't have to fear being locked up in jail over taking a movie back late and forgetting to pay the $5 late fee. We'd be a lot less ready to give into the scams if there was less of this shit in the first place.

      This actually happened, and just last week, in NC. The really surprising part of the story is that after fourteen years a video place is still in business to press charges:
      http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/25/... [cnn.com]

      • by sconeu ( 64226 )

        Video store *WAS* out of business. The guy got stopped for a traffic something-or-other and a routine check showed an outstanding warrant.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          I read the news story but can't remember whether the video didn't get returned at all or if the guy blew off the late fee, which, due to video store contract language, got turned into some $100 late fee for nonpayment.

          But probably what happened after that is that the video store sold all their old receivables for 5 cents on the dollar to a collection agency. The collection agency files a civil suit against the guy because they can't collect from him, they win a judgement in court and the bench warrant is

          • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

            The part that I can't figure out is how the collections agency goes along with the valuation of the debt that they buy. You own a video store, and of course, you need some way to motivate people to return the movies (and rewind them, too, if you can remember that far back). So you charge a late fee, which motivates most people, but to further motivate them you have some insane rental agreement language that turns a $2 late fee into a $100 late fee if its not paid in 10 days or some other arbitrary period.

            OK

            • by swb ( 14022 )

              When I worked at a video store circa 1992, few catalog (non-new release) titles rented serially. The vast majority went out, came back and sat back on the shelf for days, weeks or longer before being rented again. The high volume videos were new release. So if a catalog title was late it was as close to a zero loss for the store as possible.

              The only exceptions were a handful of children's titles and a few cult classics popular in our neighborhood.

              We did have some kind of late fee multiplier on unpaid l

  • by p0p0 ( 1841106 ) on Tuesday March 29, 2016 @06:27PM (#51803775)
    My parents get at least 2-3 robocalls a day either about winning a flight on WestJet or being hunted by the RCMP for the CRA for backtaxes. Sometimes they'll just spoof their home phone. Pretty weird getting a phone call from yourself. One called under "Unknown Name", then called back a few minutes later with the same number under "Anonymous".

    My grandma gets the calls and she usually knows better for she has alzheimers and lapses in judgement. So we're worried that one day she'll give out some personal information and then forget the second she hangs up.
    She also got hit by a ransomware attack on her computer, which wasn't too bad because her laptop is just a Facebook machine. Set her up with Linux Mint and there have been no problems.
    Before I cancelled my phone plan I was getting at least a robocall a week and it was getting worse.
  • Dunno, an agency to defend national security or somesuch? I tend to be suspicious of the gub'mint "helping", but it seems an ANS (Agency for National Security) would be handy to have around.
  • I totally ruin these loser's days. I have a long list of questions I ask them, and if they don't get 3 right then they "fail" and I'm "forced" to hang up on them. Here are just a few, feel free to use them. :)

    Question: How can a man go eight days without sleep?
    Answer: It is not a problem, he doesn't need to sleep during the day, he sleeps at night, you fucking idiot.

    Question: Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?
    Answer: Mt. Everest. It just wasn't discovered yet, you

    • by purplie ( 610402 )
      All those fucking swear words fucking spruced up those old fucking jokes! It's 10 times more fucking funny! I fucking laughed so much I couldn't even fucking swear!
  • This situation demonstrates an opportunity for us geeks to envision a system where signed public key is used to communicate between you and your business. For example, if my address book entry for XYZ Bank or other institution had the bank's public key, and the bank had mine, then we could authenticate the communication whether it be email or voip or even ATM. Technologically we can do it.

Tomorrow's computers some time next month. -- DEC

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