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Telephone Fraud – Is Your System Secure?

March 16th, 2016
by Swains Plc

Telephone Fraud, Phone Hacking, Dial Through Fraud, Phreaking – whatever you want to call it, this sophisticated crime is real and is happening in the UK now. 

The UK is one of the top 5 countries being hit and it is currently reported to be costing UK businesses around £1.3 billion per year.

Typically, criminals will hack into your phone system on weekends, public holidays and outside your office hours when they have the most opportunity and will usually call out to premium or international numbers. It is hard to say how much telephone fraud could cost your business, but it could be in excess of £500 per line or channel, depending on the destination dialed, the number of calls made and how long it is allowed to continue before being detected and stopped.

For the cost caused by this criminal act, the liability lies with your company and your system maintainer as you are responsible for ensuring your telephone system and equipment is secure at all times.

Simple Steps – that your business or system maintainers can take to help reduce the risk of phone hacking include:

Bar Premium and International Numbers – If your business does not need to make international or premium rate calls, ask your line provider to put a bar in place so they cannot be made.

Lock Down Phone Systems and Change PINs / Pass Codes – Phone hacking is most commonly perpetrated by gaining access to a company’s internal telephone system or PBX. Often, this is achieved by dialing in and accessing the voicemail, then they set up a call divert to another number (often an expensive international destination).

It is essential that you change your voicemail PIN / pass code on a regular basis (and ensure they are not still set to the default “1234”). If you don’t require the dial through or divert facilities on your phone system, disable them or ask your system maintainer to do so.

Make Sure You Are Alerted to Suspicious Activity – Contact your service provider and ask if you can set up alerts on your account for unusual or high activity.

Check Any Firewalls Attached to Your Phone System - Make sure any firewall has as many ports disabled as possible and has a strong password.


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