Telephone fraud borrows tactics from online scams

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New technology has led to an onslaught of Internet-inspired fraud tactics that try to use telephone calls to dupe millions of people or to overwhelm switchboards for essential public services, causing deep concern among law enforcement and other groups.

People, businesses, and government agencies across the country are combating the new schemes, in which scammers use the Internet to send a disabling number of calls at the same time. Many of the attacks bombard individuals with automated requests for personal data, in a variation of their e-mail-scam cousins. Others are more vicious, flooding entire phone systems when demands are not met, similar to some attacks against websites.

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