From the daily archives: Monday, June 21, 2010

Calexico Chamber of Commerce

Executive’s Circle

UETA Duty Free Americas and RABOBANK

President’s Circle

Quechan Paradise Casino and Quechan Casino & Resort

Cordially invite you and your guests to the

Annual Membership Dinner

2010 Lava Lamp Awards

Friday, June 25, 2010

6:00 p.m. Wine Tasting           7:00 p.m. Dinner        7:30 p.m. Program

Our Lady of Guadalupe “Juan Diego” Parish Hall

122 East Fourth Street  Calexico, California

Donation $40 per person or $350 per table of ten (10) guests



Imagine getting hundreds or thousands of calls on your home, business, or cell phone, tying up the lines. And when you answer, you hear anything from dead air to recorded messages, advertisements, or even phone sex menus.

It’s annoying, no doubt. But it could be more than that—it could be a sign that you’re being victimized by the latest scam making the rounds. This ”telephone denial-of-service attack“ could be the precursor to a crime targeting your bank accounts.

Denial-of-service attacks, by themselves, are nothing new—computer hackers use them to take down websites by flooding them with large amounts of traffic.

In a recent twist, criminals have transferred this activity to telephones, using automated dialing programs and multiple accounts to overwhelm the phone lines of unsuspecting citizens.


Why are they doing it? Turns out the calls are simply a diversionary tactic: while the lines are tied up, the criminals—masquerading as the victims themselves—are raiding the victims’ bank accounts and online trading or other money management accounts.

Here, in a nutshell, is how the whole thing works:

  • Weeks or months before the phone calls start, a criminal uses social engineering tactics or malware to elicit personal information from a victim that this person’s bank or financial institution would have—like account numbers and passwords. Perhaps the victim responded to a bogus e-mail phishing for information, inadvertently gave out sensitive information during a phone call, or put too much personal information on social networking sites that are trolled by criminals.

  • Using technology, the criminal ties up the victim’s various phone lines.

  • Then, the criminal either contacts the financial institution pretending to be the victim…or pilfers the victim’s online bank accounts using fraudulent transactions. Normally, the institution calls to verify the transactions, but of course they can’t get through to the victim over the phone.

  • If the transactions aren’t made, the criminals sometimes re-contact the financial institution as the victim and ask for it to be done. Or they add their own phone number to victims’ accounts and just wait for the bank to call.

By the time the victim or the financial institution realizes what happens, it’s too late.

Law enforcement and industry response

While the lines are tied up, the criminals are raiding victims’ accounts.

The FBI first learned about this emerging scheme through one of its private industry partners, which told us how a Florida dentist lost $400,000 from his retirement account after a denial-of-service attack on his phones.

And as of April of this year, there has definitely been a noticeable surge in telephone denial-of-service attacks, with numerous incidents having been reported in several Eastern states.

To help fight these schemes, the FBI has teamed up with the Communication Fraud Control Association—comprised of security professionals from communication providers—to analyze the patterns and trends of telephone denial-of-service attacks, educate the public, and identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Ultimately, though, it’s individual consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses on the front line of this battle. So take precautions: never give out personal information to an unsolicited phone caller or via e-mail; change online banking and automated telephone system passwords frequently; check your account balances often; and protect your computers with the latest virus protection and security software.

And if you think you may have been targeted by a telephone denial-of-service attack, contact your financial institution and your telephone provider, and file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.


Blythe station Border Patrol agents found 112 plastic-wrapped bundles hidden beneath the sleeper bed of a semi-tractor trailer at the Highway 78 checkpoint near Palo Verde, Calif. on Thursday.

U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma sector seized more than $250,000 in marijuana and arrested a suspected drug smuggler at the checkpoint on Highway 78 near Palo Verde on Thursday.

At about 5:30 p.m., Border Patrol agents assigned to the Blythe station encountered a white semi-tractor trailer at the checkpoint. A Border Patrol canine team alerted to the semi, indicating the likely presence of concealed illicit contraband.

Agents referred the tractor trailer for secondary inspection where they uncovered 112 plastic-wrapped bundles of marijuana hidden beneath the sleeper bed in the cab of the truck. The driver, a 54-year-old U.S. citizen, was arrested.

The packages of marijuana weighed a combined 322 pounds with an estimated street value of $257,600.

The driver, semi and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

To report suspicious activity, contact the Yuma sector Border Patrol’s toll free telephone number at 1-866-999-8727.


Congressman Bob Filner, center, recently welcomed Central Union High School’s Great Spartan Band to Washington, D.C. where they performed in the National Memorial Day Parade. Congressman Filner met the band at the entrance to the White House before they embarked on a tour arranged by the Congressman.

This past Saturday we had the Battle by the Border Event in Crummet Park in Calexico. It was a great event were law enforcement agents entered the ring to entertain the crowd and raise funds for athletic organizations.
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