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Beware of Latest Eavesdropping Scam Targeting Victims with Vague Voicemails

The scam evades most call protection services because it does not contain any traditional scam call markers.


Researchers at Hiya, a Seattle-based firm specializing in robocall-blocking algorithms and apps have uncovered the newest scam call campaign dubbed “Eavesdropping Scam”. The latest fraud campaign begins with vague voicemail messages left on a victim’s smartphone in which an unknown voice is heard talking about them to another person. 

According to researchers, since 79% of unknown calls go unanswered, the scammers leave a voicemail. If a potential victim’s curiosity picks up in a voicemail claiming “I’m trying to get ahold of them right now” and decides to call back, the fraudsters on the other end of the line attempt to steal their private details or money by offering fraudulent tax relief services.

The eavesdropping scam operates in a sophisticated manner by deploying both a new strategy (leaving non-descriptive voicemails to get a call back) and a new script (pretending to discuss the recipient). The scam evades most call protection services because it does not contain any traditional scam call markers. 

Unlike other campaigns, the scammers use authentic numbers and lure people to call back. The call seems very discreet despite being a mass volume robocall, and the content of the voicemail is so vague that it does not include any typical fraud-related keywords. 

The eavesdropping scam first emerged in early 2022, and to curb the spread of the fraud campaign researchers used the company’s Adaptive AI. It allowed the researchers to flag over 90 percent of these calls from the beginning. 

The firm’s Real-Time Intelligence Service allows its Adaptive AI to identify the latest frauds based on their strategies, even on the very first call. In this campaign, phone numbers making the Eavesdropping Scam call were flagged in less than 12 call attempts on average and after successfully spotting and flagging these calls, researchers collaborated with a third-party service provider to shut down the initial operation in 24 hours.

“Catching this new and emerging scam tactic shows the power of Hiya’s Adaptive AI capabilities. Because our models are self-learning and focus on tactics, we can detect new scam risks in real-time and, in this case, shut down the operation before it reaches most users,” Hiya CEO Alex Algard stated. “At Hiya, our mission is to fully eradicate spam and fraud calls from the voice network, and the Eavesdropping Scam is the latest example of how we’re outsmarting scammers and protecting users.”
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