Have you protected your business against telephone fraud?

Telephone FraudBusinesses across the UK are falling victim to telephone fraud and PBX hacking, which is estimated to cost companies £1bn a year; and it’s on the increase.

Fraudsters exploit loopholes in business telephone systems to rack up call charges, leaving unsuspecting companies liable for bills that can run into thousands of pounds. Once criminals have accessed a telephone network, they have been typically known to make international or premium rate calls (09 numbers) at £1.50 per minute. This activity can go undetected for many days or even weeks. Most importantly, because all the calls have been made using a company’s telephone lines, the business is liable and has to pay the bill.

Ian Hilton, director of Lancashire-based telecoms company Tech Advance, has been speaking to Property Aspects about the issue, and what can be done to protect against it.

Ian stated: “Attacking business’ telephone systems is a high profit low risk activity. A hacker will normally link together several unprotected telephone systems, making tracing the calls almost impossible. They generate profit by dialling premium rated telephone numbers; these are usually of the international variety. The profits they can make from these attacks are alarming and have the potential to bankrupt the target.”

“Just consider, if one phone line can generate a £5.00 per minute call charge and an attack starts at 5.01pm on a Friday and goes undetected until 9.01am on a Monday morning, that’s 3840 minutes at £5.00 per minute, totalling a charge of £19,200. Now, if your system can generate 10 outbound calls that figure could increase to £192,000.”

Talking about how to combat the issue, Ian commented: “Company owners need to work closely with telephone service providers to help ensure every step possible is taken to protect their business telephone systems. Regularly check the user name and password for remote access to your business telephone systems – Ensure you have strong passwords that are confidential to your business. Finally, make sure your telephone extensions are barred from making calls to premium rate numbers. Small businesses often choose not to put restrictions in on the phones but locking this down can prevent fraudulent attacks and misuse by staff.”

Property Aspects appreciates the contribution to this article from Ian Hilton of Tech Advance who has worked in telecommunications for 22 years. For more information on how to avoid telephone fraud, contact Ian via Tel: 0845 389 2311 or E-Mail: ihilton@techadvance.co.uk