Friday, November 07, 2014

Warrant for Your Arrest phone scams

Yesterday the scammers tried to hit the wrong victim! Neera Desai works for us at Malcovery Security as a Threat Intelligence Analyst on the malware team. She had received a voicemail on her phone while she was in one of her UAB Computer Science classes and knew that this could be a clue towards something big. She played it for me, and we provided a copy to law enforcement.

The recording is available here as a m4a file (QuickTime will play it):

SheriffScam.m4a

Here's a transcript:

This message is for (student name). Hi this is officer Steven Jones and I'm calling you from Jefferson County. The reason of my call is to inform you that we have received a legal complaint against you on ??? identity. So if you want to be on the safer side and not get arrested contact on 646 759 4934 I repeat (646) 759-4934. If you disregard this message you alone are responsible for the legal actions that are taken against you. Thank you and have a great day!

Later the same day HER ROOMMATE had the same scam against her, only she happened to be at a place where she could answer the phone! Her call was from "Officer Austin Reed" instead of "Officer Steven Jones".

When we started digging into this scam we realized that this is an EXTREMELY POPULAR scam! We shared the information with the North Alabama Identity Theft Task Force, the Internet Crime & Complaint Center (IC3.gov) and the National Cyber Forensics Training Alliance (NCFTA) and have learned quite a bit more about the scope and range of this attack.

The Scam Structure

There are three parts to the "signature" of this attack:

  1. The victim receives a telephone call with a spoofed callerid to make it appear to be from either the IRS (they often spoof the "1040 hotline"), a law enforcement agency geographically proximal to the potential victim's location, or 911, the emergency contact number used in the United States.
  2. The victim will be told that they have committed a crime, which may include running a red light and being caught by a traffic camera, failing to appear for Jury Duty, failing to pay your taxes or failing to pay them on time, or, if an international person, having a problem with immigration paperwork.
  3. The victim will be instructed to send a payment immediately, with amounts ranging from $500 to $2,500, and threatened with immediate arrest if they fail to comply.

Recent Alabama Phone Scams

There does seem to be "locality waves" to this attack, where certain geographies will be heavily targeted, and then the attack will move on to another locality. As an example, in my area, dialing code (205), central Alabama, we have had several organizations do warnings about this type of attack, including: Other parts of the country have also experienced this scam, including:

What to Do?

There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of scam victims of this type all over the country. But without your clues, law enforcement doesn't know if this is one large organized crime group, ten groups, twenty groups, or a thousand individual con men acting alone. It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you add your clues to the investigation.

  • The Best Place to report any type of online scam is the FBI's Internet Crime & Complaint Center. To go directly to their complaint page, use this link:

    https://complaint.ic3.gov.

    Although the form has many questions that you may not be able to answer, complete the form to the best of your ability with the information you DO know. Specifically make sure to note things such as:

    • What name did the person use?
    • Did they call you by name?
    • What agency, department, or company did they claim to be with?
    • What did they accuse you of?
    • How much money did they want you to pay?
    • What number shows up in your callerid?
    • Did they give you any other numbers to call or websites to visit?

    Even if you do not have ALL of this information, any information you share can help link cases together. If someone calling Houston and someone calling Birmingham both told you to call the same phone number, that is a "link". If they used the same Officer Name, that is another "link". The more individual cases we can link together, the better chance we have of catching the criminals!

  • IF YOU HAVE THE IRS VERSION of the case, be sure to report the crime to the investigators at the Department of Treasury who have set up a special website for gathering information about this scam:

    http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml

  • IF YOU HAVE LOST MONEY in your case, be sure to ALSO report this as a crime to your local Police Department!

Be sure to share a comment below to tell the other readers here about your experience as well!

18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up! I read about those phone scams from the complaints lodged at Callercenter.com too. I encourage everyone to check out the posts and take note of the scammer phone numbers. If possible, add them to block list in advance so these scammers never get the chance to call anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I got one of these calls and did not fall for it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Us too. I knew we didn't break any laws so I looked it up online.

      Delete
  3. I got one today at work and it really scared me! I actually was very upset but I kept pressing the guy to please explain more and what is he even talking about me doing tax fraud, he got fed up and said they are filing the charges and that I will be under arrest soon and hung up on me. They wanted me to set up a payment plan to pay off a 1954 dollar "student tax". What even is a student tax?? I believe they are targetting students now that went or go to UAB!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I received a call today as well. They told me I would be arrested within the hour. I called the number back which they called me from and it was my local police department. I spoke with someone there and they said it is a scam and that they are targeting people who attend my college looking for money.

      Delete
  4. The call I got came from 713-931-3615 and told me to call them back at 202-241-7649. India accent.

    ReplyDelete
  5. just overheard someone getting attacked while i was in the library quick google search after eavesdropping and helped him with his situation thanks guys, fuck tha fake police!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I got a call like that some 7 month ago and the scared me pretty bad. They are very forceful on the phone and demand a payment or they will send an officer over to arrest me, due to a warrant on my name for a suppose it error on my 2010 tax return. Which made no sense at all, plus who calls you to tell you that you have a warrant on you, so you can skip out town? lol anyways. I researched the caller and realized it was a scam. Just now I got another one of these scammers calling me! 904-638-5389 this time, Indian accent and name like Steven Jones ... Realy?! So I told him off, and to be ashamed of himself and hung up on him. Well he called me 4 more times back to back... I mean the arrogance these people have!

    ReplyDelete
  7. We have got this call today and unfortunately he influenced us to transfer money ����we realized very late thats its fraud .. He said we have not filled some immigration form nd we will be arrasted if we will not give bail amount .. We transfer once nd he kept asking for more money than we realized its fraud ...

    ReplyDelete
  8. We have got this call today and unfortunately he influenced us to transfer money ����we realized very late thats its fraud .. He said we have not filled some immigration form nd we will be arrasted if we will not give bail amount .. We transfer once nd he kept asking for more money than we realized its fraud ...

    ReplyDelete
  9. I got a call from 5126405489 saying that I committed Fraud and there would be and arrest warrant issued within the hour . They were going to put someone else on the phone for me to talk to but I hung up .

    ReplyDelete
  10. I got a call from 5126405489 telling me I would be arrested for Fraud. Wanted me to speak to someone else but I hung up. Says her name is Mary Simmons.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I got a call today from 911, regarding arrest warrant surprisingly she knew my full name... I am aware of this scam before so didn't encourage her and said its bull shit and she hanged the phone

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just got one from an "officer randy cooper " from "the "florida department of state police. . Funny I didn't know that was a common name in INDIA!! (Where he was obviously from). When I pressed him for a callback number he totally ignored that. When I let him know that scam had been tried on me before, and I wasn't going for it he hung up.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I received a call yesterday from a 'Patricia Knighton' from a 'legal review agency' who said I was wanted for two felonies and I needed 10,000 dollars cash only bond. When I asked what I did, she said a bunch of 'ligal jumbo', which didn't answer my question. She told me to call this 'lawyer' and get a 'court release number'. When I called, the lady sounded more like a burnt out drug addict and hung up when I asked her name. :/

    ReplyDelete
  14. Received this call several times. Although I knew it is fake by now, so thought to play with them. I started speaking a village language from India. (since I knew). The other person gave the phone to someone else who started speaking in Hindi (Indian Language). This scam definitely has few indians actively working for.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I received a call today. Actually I received it for 3 times. For the first 2 calls, the phone rang for only 1 time. The 3rd time he told me that I have some problem in my tax report. He has sent me a letter showing this to blablabla(he knew My previous home address!). (I guess that's what he meant. Actually my English is not that good )And I also told him I cannot understand him. He just keep telling me something that make me confused. I asked him: are you cheating? is it a fraud? He got angry and told me: you can consider me as a fraud, I can arrest you to a prison...Then he hung up. He really scared me but I still decided not to call back. In my country, it will cost you a lot of money if you call back to such number. I don't know whether it is the same in US? The phone number showed on my phone is 3472989401. Take care!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I received a call today. Actually I received it for 3 times. For the first 2 calls, the phone rang for only 1 time. The 3rd time he told me that I have some problem in my tax report. He has sent me a letter showing this to blablabla(he knew My previous home address!). (I guess that's what he meant. Actually my English is not that good )And I also told him I cannot understand him. He just keep telling me something that make me confused. I asked him: are you cheating? is it a fraud? He got angry and told me: you can consider me as a fraud, I can arrest you to a prison...Then he hung up. He really scared me but I still decided not to call back. In my country, it will cost you a lot of money if you call back to such number. I don't know whether it is the same in US? The phone number showed on my phone is 3472989401. Take care!

    ReplyDelete

Trying a new setting. After turning on comments, I got about 20-30 comments per day that were all link spam. Sorry to require login, but the spam was too much.