Monday, October 20, 2014
Phone dial (900-number) scammers hitting small businesses with Internet land lines
The New York Times has a major front page story Monday by Nicole Perlroth, “Dial and Redial: Phone Hackers Stealing Billions”, link here. Around the country, hackers are invading Internet-connected phone systems of small businesses on weekends and making a cut on calls to “900” numbers (or their international equivalents), often to sex businesses overseas. In at least one case, the hackers were associated with Islamist terror groups (related to Mumbai) so it is possible that ISIS has used this technique.
Telecomm carriers have still sued the businesses for bills in the hundreds of thousands, as there is no fraud protection as there is in the credit card industry, and carriers insist that customers are responsible for securing their own systems. This may be impossible, and state lawmakers are noticing.
I think there was an idea like this in the 1997 novel “The Trojan Project” by Minnesota author Edmund Contoski.
ABC News has a story about the practice (hitting a Missouri realtor) and it sounds like maybe it could happen at home, especially to a home-based business. But the realtor says that her phones actually started ringing incessantly. But on a weekend, or when someone is away from home for a period, it could happen.