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AnyDesk lays bait for cyber scammers as anti-fraud tactics expand

Remote desktop software vendor AnyDesk is taking the fight to cyber fraudsters in 2023 with its live call centre events, anti-fraud taskforce and fraud-fighting foundation.

“We’re bringing the fight to the scammers this year with @ScammerPayback,” the AnyDesk comms team tweeted ahead of the 3 August live ‘scammer hotline’ event. “The Peoples Call Centre is here! Watch us fight fraud live.”

The idea of Peoples Call Center 2023 – AnyDesk fights back! was to contact known scammers and publicly expose their activities, wasting scammers’ time online and publishing results on social media.

Scambaiting tactics have been popularised by groups such as 419eater.com and YouTuber James Veitch in a 2016 TED Talk and can help actually take down scammers.

The approach is a weapon in AnyDesk’s expanded anti-fraud strategy, which has shut down multiple scammer call centres, banning and severing fraudulent connections to thousands of devices.

According to Ofcom, nearly 43 million UK adult internet users have encountered suspected scams online, with most online users agreeing tech firms have a responsibility to tackle the problem.

Philipp Weiser, chief executive officer (CEO) at AnyDesk, said fraud prevention remains a top priority.

“It’s not over after the fraudulent usage stops. We will continue to dedicate manpower towards stopping fraud across the board,” Weiser said.

Matthew Caldwell, a fraud prevention specialist at AnyDesk, said in the related announcement: “This work is expected to inspire collaboration amongst competitors and is planned to include a list of shared non-descriptive identifiers that can be used to stop fraud on a global level.”

AnyDesk has also established a fraud fighters foundation, kicking off with a pledge of $10,000 (£7869) for fraud prevention efforts in education and reimbursement of victims.

Funds will be distributed by the foundation under recommendation from an online awareness victim advocacy and help outreach group which monitors call centres and intervenes in scam calls.

We’re looking forward to building something amazing here, and we would love to get other companies involved,” Caldwell said. “A proactive approach is always better than a reactive one.” 

AnyDesk is also a member of industry group Stop Scams UK. Other members hail from banking, telecoms, and technology sectors — including Google, Meta, and Barclays bank.

The idea is to evaluate and implement technical countermeasures to prevent scams, via sharing of knowledge and data, according to AnyDesk.

( Photo by Max Bender on Unsplash )

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