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Telecoms Fraud

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Toll Fraud (also known as call phreaking or dial through fraud) is becoming increasingly common in the UK. It occurs when someone dials into your phone system and then uses your telephone lines to route calls, often to international destinations at your expense. This goes completely undetected and the only time you will know about it is when you receive your next phone bill.

Cybercrime has become a multi billion dollar illegal business that is now four times as much as credit card fraud, generating masses of income for organised criminals. In addition to running up extremely expensive bills it can render the phone system unusable by the firm effectively closing down your business for days on end.

Many people may have heard of Toll Fraud but mistakenly believe that it does not happen in the UK. In fact the UK is one of the top 5 countries in the world where toll fraud occurs and 40% of companies have been hit at some point. It is believed that phreaking actually costs UK businesses £1.3 to £1.5 billion per annum and this figure is set to rise more and more. No company or organisation is immune, high profile victims include the Department of Homeland Security and Scotland Yard.

In today’s business environment, security is of vital importance, extending to traditional voice networks as well as converged voice and data networks, making
telecommunications the fourth largest expense on your profit and loss sheet. It is clear that now more than ever, businesses cannot afford to get caught out.

Exposure to breaches of security is growing throughout the telecoms industry and therefore it is important that businesses start putting measures into practice in order to save their company thousands of pounds.

Change pass-codes and passwords regularly
A role of thumb is that if a PBX service or device has a pass-code, then it is there for a reason and open to being accessed fraudulently. So change it, regularly.

Manage the system user database 
Remove any unused IP or analogue extensions and mailboxes, including group and virtual

Keep information safeguarded 
Including remote access phone numbers that connect callers to your voicemail system

Remove or deactivate
Any system functionality you don’t need including remote access ports

Such highly profitable criminal activity is attracting more and more sophisticated criminals, running up monthly bills of up to £12,000. However the company that holds the calls and lines are legally liable and therefore are obliged to settle the bill with their call provider before services can be returned to as normal.

 Make sure you change the security setting & password on your telephone system from the default of factory settings
 Change voicemail passwords regularly and protect them and your access codes from authorised use
 Remove or deactivate any telephone system functionality that you don’t need including remote access ports
 Never publish the remote access phone that connect calls to your voicemail system
 Keep an eye on your monthly phone bills for anything that looks unusual
 Carry out regular audits of your telephone system, including privileges and restrictions