This awareness section is provided to give you information on customer-impacting fraud scams.
Current Awareness Alerts
Cell Phone Trafficking
What Is It: Cellphone trafficking is an illegal activity that involves:
- The unlocking and sale of prepaid devices by an unauthorized seller
- Trafficking of passwords/unlock codes that are not requested through approved channels
- The use of counterfeit packages (with our logos) without our approval
We continuously work with our Authorized Retailers and our own stores to identify suspicious activity and act where needed.
What should you do:
- Be cautious about purchasing devices that don't come in original packaging or don't include typical instructions and warranties.
- If you suspect fraud, check device and service prices online before purchasing. Fraudsters often trick customers into thinking they are purchasing devices from Cricket and charge them an inflated cost.
- If you suspect that someone is engaging in cellphone trafficking activities, please contact law enforcement immediately.
Unsolicited Callers Demanding Payment
What Is It: In this scam you typically receive a call from someone claiming to be from a government agency, demanding that you make immediate payment to them to satisfy a legal obligation. Two of the more prominent scenarios are:
- Caller identifies himself as the Internal Revenue Service demanding payment of an outstanding balance, OR
- Caller identifies themselves as local law enforcement demanding payment of a fine for failure to appear for jury duty
In this scam, the caller is generally demanding payment information (credit card, debit card or wire transfer) immediately and threatening criminal prosecution for failure to comply. Callers are generally very assertive and threatening.
What You Should Do: Do not engage these callers - hang up immediately. If you suspect that such an obligation exists, contact the government agency at their published phone number(s) to verify.
For the IRS-related scam:
- Refer to the following link for more information: http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Repeats-Warning-about-Phone-Scams
- Refer to the following link to report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General's Office: http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report_scam.shtml
PC Technical Support Scam
What Is It: In this scam you typically receive a call from someone claiming to be a computer technician with a technical support company. In some cases, they will falsely represent themselves as affiliated with your Internet service provider. They may tell you they have detected viruses or malware on your computer or offer a free security scan on your computer. Once you provide them with remote access to your computer, they either attach malware, which can steal your sensitive data or "lock" your computer and demand payment to "unlock."
What You Should Do: Never provide remote access to your computer under these circumstances. In all cases, never engage such services without first verifying that the company is in fact genuine. Refer to the "Social Engineering" section below as well as the following FTC link: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams.
Fake Website Phishing Scam
What Is It: The typical scenario is that you receive an incoming phone call, text message, or email enticing you to visit a website that appears to have an affiliation with Cricket or another company. In the case of a fake Cricket website, the enticement is generally the promise of a substantial bill discount or a gift card. Once at the fraudulent Cricket website, you are prompted to log in with your Cricket account credentials. The fraudster then uses the customer information obtained from the fake site to log into your account and make changes to the account or place orders.
For more information, you can access the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center website using this link; http://www.IC3.gov/media/default.aspx and refer to the press release Phishing Attacks On Telecommunication Customers Resulting In Account Takeovers Continue dated April 28, 2014.
What You Should Do: If you get this call or text message, you should ignore it. Most importantly, you should never use your Cricket account information to log into any website other than the Cricket website listed on your statement. If you already have been a victim of phishing, you should file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at www.IC3.gov.
Cyber-Extortion Payday Loan Scam
What Is It: This is an extortion scheme by abusive callers claiming to be debt collectors operating from call centers located in India. It targets primarily businesses, some of which have been emergency service agencies, located in the United States. The supposed debt collectors have accurate data about the victims, including Social Security numbers, dates of birth, addresses, employer information, bank account numbers, and the names and telephone numbers of relatives and friends. How the fraudsters obtained the personal information varies, but in some cases, the victims completed online applications for loans or credit cards.
The supposed debt collectors relentlessly call the contact business phone of the victim concerning a defaulted loan --- in most cases, a payday loan--- stating the victim must repay this loan to avoid legal consequences. The callers claim to be representatives of the FBI, Federal Legislative Department, various law firms, or other legitimate-sounding agencies. Perpetrators of this scam also use other coercion techniques, including abusive language, or threats of bodily harm or arrest, to get the victims to send money, usually by Western Union, Money Gram or Green Dot cards.
If the victim does not send a payment, the debt collector launches a TDOS (Telephony Denial of Service) attack at the victim's workplace (TDOS involves a very high number of non-stop successive calls that prevents the business from receiving and responding to legitimate calls). In some cases, the victim's other contact numbers -- such as residential, wireless, etc. -- are also targeted for TDOS. The offenders have sophisticated equipment that allows them to commit the TDOS attack and also allows them to spoof the originating numbers, making it very difficult to stop the attack. The supposed debt collectors are typically located in India and have no fear of U.S.-based law enforcement.
What You Should Do: Do not engage these callers - hang up immediately. Report to Cricket Customer Support at 1-800-CRICKET (1-800-274-2538). File a complaint at www.IC3.gov.
"One-Ring" Callback Scam
What Is It: This scam involves missed calls that result in International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) when the victim returns the call. Fraudsters use call generators with automated spoofing capabilities to place calls to a large volume of US cell phone numbers. The calls typically ring once. The number displayed on the recipient's caller ID is a high-cost international number, usually located in the Caribbean. If you call the number back you're greeted with a message designed to keep you on the line, such as "Hello, you have reached the operator, please hold." The longer you stay on the line, the more revenue fraudsters generate.
You may not realize you're calling an international number and that you will be billed for making an international call. Businesses are also victims because customers often use their work telephone to make the return call.
Area codes used in the spoofed numbers are usually from Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. These countries' numbers are part of the North American Numbering Plan and do not require 011 to be dialed as with other international calls.
What You Should Do: Do not answer calls from numbers you do not recognize or initiate a return call. You will not be charged for receiving the calls. Companies that do not conduct business with companies in the above-mentioned countries may want to consider blocking these area codes to avoid this type of charge. If you have been victimized by this scam, file a complaint at www.ftc.govand www.IC3.gov.
Refer to the following link for additional information: http://www.IC3.gov/media/2014/140213.aspx.
Prepaid Card Scam
What Is it: In this scam, someone pretending to be from Cricket calls you with a tremendous discount offer on your service if you prepay for a period of time outside of your normal contract. These fraudsters usually ask you to make payment via a pre-paid credit card or retail gift card, and may provide you with a toll free call back number to complete the transaction.
What you should do: Do not engage these callers. Cricket does not solicit prepayments via pre-paid credit cards or retail gift cards. Hang up immediately. If you're ever approached by a caller claiming to be from Cricket and you feel they may not be legitimate, hang up and call the toll free customer service number on your bill. Always be certain you are speaking with a legitimate Cricket customer service representative about your service or any current offers. If your account does not have PIN security activated, we recommend you turn on your Account PIN for added security.
What Is It: Social engineering is when someone manipulates you into performing certain action or divulging confidential information. Social engineers employ many approaches to this - some of the more prominent techniques include:
- Call or email from someone pretending to represent a legitimate company you might normally do business with. Caller asks for your account information (SSN, passwords, credit card numbers) "to verify" your account.
- Call from a supposed court employee regarding jury duty - caller requests personal information under threat of fine or prosecution.
What You Should Do: Never provide account information to these callers. Hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to find out if the entity that supposedly contacted you actually needs the requested information from you. Contact Cricket at 1-800-CRICKET (1-800-274-2538), to report such activity. Also, file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.
Caller ID "Spoofing"
What Is It: Caller ID spoofing involves sending false or misleading information to deceive the receiving party and/or hide the caller's true identity and/or call origination. In some cases, the Caller ID may even display the receiving party's own number or a number very similar to the receiving party's number, making it look like a local incoming call.
What You Should Do: Do not give out personal information in response to an incoming call. Instead, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company's or government agency's website to find out if the entity that supposedly called you actually needs the requested information from you. If the "spoofed" Caller ID displays your own number or a similar number to your own, do not answer. In any case of spoofing, file a complaint at www.IC3.gov.