Are network providers making money from toll fraud?

Unfortunately, calls made using your phone line are your responsibility to pay for, even if you didn’t actually make those calls yourself. Telecoms providers and carriers will argue that they lease you the lines but that it is down to you to protect your system against this type of attack. The problem is that they fail to inform their customers about the potential risks, which leaves companies vulnerable and naive.

Toll fraud (or telephony fraud) is not a problem that is going away any time soon. Any business with a telephone system (PBX) can be targeted by phone hackers (Phreakers), regardless of the size of the organisation.

•The fraudsters hijack the PBX by breaking the PIN code on the voicemail, using access codes and on-line password cracking technology. This enables them to infiltrate your system, configuring it for their own use.

•Once access has been gained the hackers are able to make outbound calls to anywhere in the world, the cost of which falls to the owner of the phone line connected to the system from where the call has originated from.

Phone Phreakers sell phone services in developing countries to customers who do not own their own phone line and they deal in cash, which is virtually untraceable.

We have been working hard to ensure that our customers are aware of the risks, advising them on how best to protect their telephone system. In September 2014, we also launched our exceptional call reporting (ECR) service for our customers, which monitors calls for signs of fraudulent activity.

The large, network providers such as BT, Virgin, Talk Talk and O2 are openly profiting from toll fraud. Phone bills running into the thousands and beyond, for calls that weren’t even made by them, are often impossible for smaller businesses to pay back and can put them out of business. As far as the larger network providers are concerned, SME’s are nothing but an account number. Companies are left vulnerable and open to attack because they are not aware of the potential risks and they have no idea of the cost implications to them, should they be targeted.

If you would like more information on how you can protect your telephone system from toll fraud attack, including our ECR service, please contact us.