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Phone fraudsters waiting to pounce this Christmas
Posted by Rick Howard on 11/12 at 10:00 AM Dial through fraud, Telephone systems,
Christmas phone fraud image

Don’t let your guard down this Christmas! It is a shame but I feel we are duty bound to warn you that the festive period is a prime time for phone fraudsters to strike.

Just as we are all starting to wind down for Christmas, hackers are winding themselves up to prepare for what can be a very lucrative time for their fraudulent efforts.

Many businesses shut down for the festive season with some even downing tools between Christmas and New Year. Any length of time that a business or organisation does not man its phones gives hackers an opportunity to infiltrate their telephone systems to makes themselves some money.

The unhappy result is that the accounts department will come back to work on January 2nd to a hefty phone bill that a business may or may not be able to afford to pay.

Despite telephone or dial-through fraud, sometimes known as phreaking, being a highly organised criminal activity, it is rarely punished and the victim is expected to pick up the bill, unless they have protected themselves against this financial liability.

If you do not already know, these fraudsters break into your telephone system, usually via the voicemail service, and then set up outgoing calls to premium phone numbers from which they benefit from the profit.

There are a number of practical steps you can take to help protect yourself from this illegal activity this Christmas:

  • Frequently change your passwords (including voicemail) especially when employees leave your employment
  • Ensure passwords are random – not 0000, 1234, 1357, etc.
  • Disable unwanted features where possible
  • Implement an effective call barring plan
  • Check your network provider can alert you quickly when an excessive charge is incurred
  • Ensure your telephone system is fully up to date and has current software/security levels
  • Conduct a security audit of your telephone system like you would any IT system
  • Ensure your staff are fully trained on your telephone system so they fully understand the features, how to use them and the risks involved

I would also advise you to check with your network provider to see if they offer financial liability protection. We offer a Fraud Management Service that means our customers never pay more than £750 per line should these hackers strike. You will appreciate that £750 is a lot more palatable than a bill that could run into the tens of thousands of pounds.

I feel a little mean warning you about something so un-festive in the run up to Christmas but I would not want to see anyone caught out while you are enjoying your time off work. If you need any more advice, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Rick Howard's avatar
Rick Howard on 11/12/2017

Rick is all about customer service...he is super keen to ensure we are doing a good job.

He's also our go-to lines and minutes man-on-the-ground. A creative and analytical professional with an excellent record of achievement within a range of industries, Rick works with confidence, flair and a strict work discipline.

Rick can do the best single eyebrow raise in the office; while out of the office, he is a steam punk aficionado.