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Phone phishers impersonate courts and police.

The latest fad amongst phishers is calling up and claiming to be from the courts and the police.

Australian Fraud Squad detectives have today issued a warning following several reports in the past 24 hours of a 'phishing' scam targeting Sydney residents.

In each case the intended victim is asked to press a number on the phone and is transferred to a call centre, who then forwards them to another person. In a number of reported cases, that scammer has claimed to be Col Dyson(the Fraud Squad Commander).

That person requests the resident's bank account details and other verifying information for what is claimed to be a money laundering investigation.

NSW Fraud Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Colin Dyson, today said residents are being told their court date has been changed or they are the victim of an identity scam before the courts and should move their money to an account to protect it.

"I want to make it clear that I did not, and would not, make such calls. Furthermore, the NSW Police Force would not contact a person and tell them to transfer money into another bank account," Detective Superintendent Dyson warned.

"A Fraud Squad strike force is investigating this scam which, based on our intelligence, emanates from a similar scam which has been operating in New York."

In the cases reported to police so far, none of the residents contacted by these scammers are involved in matters before the District Court.

No doubt coming to a phone near you. The silly part is that if the bank customers were using mobile transaction authentication, they would just laugh and hang up, because it couldn't happen to them. Existing banking processes don't provide enough protection and these calls are just what the consumer is expecting.

There will always be scammers but it's about time we made it just that much harder for them. It isn't difficult to put a process in place where both bank and government employees, including police and courts, are authenticated in their dealings with each other.


Comments: (2)

John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald - AIB - Dublin 01 May, 2008, 14:15Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes Dean, Your posts are interesting but until they have real detail behind the claims they won't stand up.  “The silly part is that if the bank customers were using mobile transaction authentication, they would just laugh and hang up, because it couldn't happen to them.”  

It can’t happen here = it’s unsinkable. And "mobile transaction authentication" is a phrase relating to nothing in the real world as far as I can see.

 Your website also points out the many failings of (existing) identity / fraud prevention solutions, but doesn’t say what the answer is (for patent reasons). Without some hint as to the shape of a solution your posts will read a little hollow to me. 


A Finextra member
A Finextra member 03 May, 2008, 02:32Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Hi John, I've been a little busy. It's nice to see a very successful mutual.

In regards to the customer not taking a  phone phisher seriously, - if properly deployed our solution removes the opportunity for insider fraud, so most customers would be unlikely to fall for a phone phisher and we make it easier to check with the bank.

Do you outsource your internet banking as well as your credit cards, current accounts, insurance and investments?
If so then we perhaps we should be talking to them for you.

We aren't in a position to outsource our authentication otherwise we would have, and after going to so much trouble it would be inappropriate to end up doing so through our competitors taking it to market first. We have a certain advantage in scalability and application and both Moore's Law and More's Law have been kind to us in the past 12 months allowing greater possibilities. A very smart fellow once told me to think big.
Big takes a little longer.

We're planning a paradigm shift. When a product or service is in the marketplace and clearly failing to achieve the objective then it leaves itself open to constructive discussion which may vary slightly from the sales brochure. Most of the existing approaches have either been in existence for more than 20 years or are internet banking by another name. Clearly they are not maximising the opportunities for customer confidence.

I welcome the opportunity for similar discussion of how we're up to what we're up to  when it is in the marketplace and it is coming as fast possible. This isn't really the place for a technical discussion anyway. I could bore you endlessly with patent details, perhaps starting with those of others so you had a good frame of reference from which to judge ours. Many other solutions are only suitable for limited applications.

There's more to it than transactions. Historically there are cultural issues with trust which need to be overcome as quickly as possible to achieve maximum benefits from the Union and this is where I think mobiles come into their own. The EU goal to become a single economic entity with free movement of people and money across borders within the Union and this is the key to success. The EU needs the best possible solution to achieve it's goals. Fast money theory - print more or make what's out there move more freely - which one has lower inflation? Which approach can achieve more with the same or less credit? Economic management will change as a result of current events, and lessons learned in the last century and be enabled by modern technology.

The last bastion of sloth in modern society is money. Physical delivery of money by hand is often faster than the financial system in this age of speed of light technology, where a tanker full of Nigerian Oil on the high seas can change hands in the blink of an eye, but the crews pay money is slow to cross borders, unless a customer is paying between 9% and 20% for electronic delivery. I sense this may have seen it's day.

Many western countries have a dependency of foreign labour, mobile workers who send money home. Sometimes governments see the advantage in being early adopters of new products and services for both their own efficiency and to lead general society to greater efficiency.

We'll be offering a better way to your members as soon as physically possible and they'll be the ones who get to decide whether mobiles are part of the solution.

Member since




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