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Schools: Don’t be caught out by phone hackers with Christmas
Posted by Yvonne Dennis on 13/12 at 02:14 PM Education,

The Christmas holidays provides the ideal opportunity for hackers to dial into business phone systems and do their worst. While businesses may be closed for the week between Christmas and New Year, schools are closed for two or three weeks at the end of 2016 and start of 2017.

This gives hackers ample opportunity to break into a school phone system and run up extortionate bills which would not come as a welcome surprise to business managers when they return to work at the start of the Spring term.

Earlier this year, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and City of London Police sent out a warning to schools to prevent them from becoming victims of phone hacking during the summer holidays. The same warning applies ahead of the Christmas break.

Also known as telecoms fraud, dial-through fraud, PBX fraud and phreaking, this crime sees hackers target telephone systems from the outside and use them to make a high volume of calls to premium rate or overseas numbers to generate a financial return.

Rising crime
The warning* states that the NFIB has seen a “significant rise in the number of reports made in relation to this type of fraud. Around 6 per cent of the total of these reports relate to a school or college, although this is only based on what is reported and the figure could be much higher.”

The financial losses can be very steep, especially during times of prolonged closure, such as the summer holidays, because lengthy calls will not be noticed until an alarming phone bill arrives.

Cost to schools
Action Fraud has recorded the total losses to schools to be £186,923.09 since 2012 - an average loss of £1,683 per school.

With the majority of schools breaking up at the end of this week, we would urge them to take the time to contact their telecoms provider to see what steps they can take to help protect them from becoming victims of this crime.

Meanwhile, we can offer you a useful Guide to Telecoms Fraud which you may find useful.

* PBX/Dial-Through Fraud Threat to Schools - July 2016

Posted by
Yvonne Dennis's avatar
Yvonne Dennis on 13/12/2016

Yvonne is a senior business development consultant with 19 years' of experience in the business communications industry.

She develops long-term relationships with potential customers. Some of these relationships have been nurtured over a number of years and she prides herself on holding timely and professional conversations with her contacts based on accurate knowledge of their business needs.

Yvonne deals with larger prospective clients, including many from the public sector, such as schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, and local government bodies. As a result, she is part of the tender response team.