Businesses across the UK are falling victim to telephone fraud and PBX hacking. Worryingly, this new crime, estimated to cost companies £1bn a year, is 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 usually make international or premium rate calls (09 numbers) at £1.50 per minute. This activity can go undetected for many days or even weeks. And because all the calls have been made using a company’s telephone lines, the business is liable and has to pay the bill.
Company owners need to work closely with telephone service providers to help ensure every step possible is taken to protect their business telephone systems.
Action you & your telephone provider need to take:
- 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. Many phone system engineers simply leave the default password when carrying out an installation, making the system more vulnerable to hacking. Anyone trained in programming and installing a phone system like yours could dial in and make fraudulent calls easily without your knowledge. If necessary, ask your provider to change the user name and password.
- 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.
- Or ask the provider if they can place call barring on your telephone network which will also stop calls being made to premium rated numbers.
- Also request your provider to flag up any expensive calls over a certain value. Many can offer this facility, and while it won’t stop the hackers it can quickly alert you to potential fraudulent calls so you can take action.
- Finally, restrict “off-site call forwarding” from telephones. Only permit extensions which absolutely need to forward calls to do so. Many telephone fraud attacks use this feature to forward calls made directly to internal extensions through the normal UK landline number which then dial out to a premium rate number.
For more information relating to telephone fraud please click here to view a recent article publishing by BBC News.
If you’re worried about telephone fraud or want to find out more about how you can protect your business telephone systems call Tech Advance today 0800 50 533 50