ID Thieves Also Use Call Centers To Outsource Their Scams

We all know that a lot of businesses outsource customer service work to call centers around the world. But what you may not know is that there are also call centers that specialize — and openly advertise — their services in aiding ID theft and other cyber fraud.

KrebsOnSecurity.com recently took a look at how openly some of these call centers operate, and what
services they provide.

It’s a pretty basic idea. You’ve acquired stolen information, like credit card numbers, but in order to use that purloined data to make an online purchase, you may need to verify over the phone that you are the actual cardholder. Even if you have enough info to pass that verification, you might not speak the same language as the person you’re pretending to be. And so, you hire one of these call centers to do the speaking for you.

For example, one call center offers male and female callers in your choice of seven different languages — English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, and Polish. Each call in English will run you $10; calls in the other languages are $12 a pop.

And this isn’t some sort of thing where you have to know a guy who knows a lady whose cousin is a con artist. The call center has online ads depicting the above information, complete with a colorful illustration of President Obama chatting on the phone with a scantily clad blonde woman.

Customers of these sorts of call centers can often go online, enter the info needed for the call, and then track to see the status of the scam.

Krebs has the example of someone who used a stolen American Express card number to purchase a $250 remote control car. The scammer filled in all the relevant data — card number, name, address, shipping address — then the call was placed, and the order fulfilled.

These call centers demonstrate the lengths to which scammers and ID thieves will go, how the fraud industry evolves to elude anti-fraud practices, and how there are entire industries springing up to support criminal enterprises.