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Crooks Bombard Victim's Phones While Swiping $399,000

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Last November, Florida dentist Robert Thousand, Jr. was the victim of a denial-of-service attack where crooks initiated transfers totaling $399,000 from Thousand's Ameritrade retirement account. When Ameritrade attempted to call Thousand to confirm the transfer requests, Wired reports, the thief (or thieves) used several VoIP accounts and automated dialing software to tie up Thousand's home, work and mobile phones, playing messages for sex hotlines or just simply staying silent. The barrage of calls kept Ameritrade from successfully contacting Thousand.

Many financial institutions have stepped up their efforts to identify fraud and verify legitimate transactions, which often involves calling customers to confirm large account transfers. To thwart these safeguards, crooks have adapted the popular hacking technique known as the denial-of-service attack, or DoS, for telephony.

While there's been no confirmation from the FBI, which is investigating the case, it's likely that Thousand fell for a phishing scam, and unwittingly handed over his account info to the crooks. Since many banks try to confirm such transfers, simply having the account information is often not enough. The DoS phone attack, meanwhile, prevents the bank from contacting the account holder, and puts the request on hold. The thieves will then call the company to complain that the transfer hasn't been completed, explaining that they (posing as the account holder) are having phone trouble.

Thousand is not the only victim of such a scam. The FBI is investigating several similar crimes, and telecommunication companies have been advising customers to check their financial accounts when they call to complain about harassing calls. It's just one more thing you should know. If you're getting bombarded by silent phone calls or recorded messages, now is the time to go check your accounts, and possibly change your passwords. [From: Wired]

Tags: banks, crime, cybercrime, DenialOfService, DoS, dos attack, DosAttack, identitytheft, phishing, scam, security, theft, top