from our friends in Surrey’e Trading Standards team
This has of course been covered on national news and consumer programmes but is well worth a repeat:
Businesses are particularly vulnerable to this type of fraud when they are closed or have limited staff cover such as during the holiday period or over weekends.
Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) are telephone systems used by businesses to communicate both internally and externally. Fraudsters target these systems to make calls to premium rate/international numbers. Victims are liable for the fraudulent transactions, which can cause significant financial harm or even bankruptcy.
It is important to remember that fraudsters may not always commit this fraud for financial gain. They can also listen to company phone calls or steal and delete sensitive business data which could be a higher cost than the compromised phone calls.
Dial Through Fraud most commonly occurs when businesses are most vulnerable i.e. during times when businesses are closed but their telephone systems are NOT for example in the early hours of the morning or over a weekend or public holiday.
How to protect your business
- If you are planning to close during the holiday period follow these measures to protect yourself:
- Restrict destinations that would not normally be dialled (e.g. premium rate/international).
- Review available call logging and call reporting options.
- Regularly monitor for increased or suspect call traffic.
- Ensure that it is not possible to access voicemail systems from outside lines.
- Make sure that default settings are changed to secure pin numbers.
- If outside access to a voicemail system is essential, make sure that suitable restrictions are put in place.
- Ensure interactive voice responses and auto attendant options for accessing outside lines are removed.
- Ensure that old phone systems have the DISA function completely disabled.
- Remember that if telephone exchanges are networked, it is possible for fraudsters to ‘break out’ from one site to another via this route.
- Secure your exchange and communications system – If you don’t need the function, close it down.