Clarion Call For Businesses To Counter Telephone Fraud

Businesses in the North West are being warned not to fall foul of a telephone scam which could cost them thousands of pounds. Abbey Telecom chief Tony Raynor has voiced his concerns that many companies are not being advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent hackers breaking into their telephone systems and to protect themselves against fraud.

Victims of ‘dial through fraud’ often face significant financial losses when they find out too late that someone has taken control of their phone lines to make money or steal free calls.

“Businesses in this country are losing £1.2bn per year to what is termed ‘dial through fraud’ on their phone systems,” explained telephone installer Mr Raynor.

“It happens when fraudsters access a telephone switchboard and call costly premium rate or overseas destinations. Yet firms can fight this crime, protect themselves against such attacks and even recoup money after the event.”

This type of fraud often occurs as a result of unsecure voicemail accounts or because the telephone system wasn’t set up properly by qualified engineers. Firms can also use their call management software to send alerts when their telephone spend thresholds are breached.

“Most engineers will be fully versed on a particular brand of system, but if they are in alien territory then security aspects are frequently omitted,” added Abbey Telecom engineer Damian Hayes.

“The risk of fraud is avoidable if the correct precautions are taken. There are lock down security procedures which should always be followed on installation, so it’s important that companies ensure that they use a fully trained engineer.”

Other valuable tips for mitigating risk include regular changing of passwords and barring unnecessary or expensive destinations with telephone line providers.

One of the biggest irritants to most victims is that, unless challenged, telecoms billing companies earn more when this fraud happens.

Mr Raynor concludes: “Nobody should profit from a crime, and those who fall foul of this practice are perfectly entitled to pressure the billing company to reduce the invoice to cost price and ask the whole of their supply chain to echo this. Industry doesn’t need any avoidable cost burdens.”

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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