Telephone fraud (also known as “phreaking”) is an extremely serious business, costing UK companies over a billion pounds each year in unauthorised call costs, even driving some to bankruptcy. Yet many business owners are unaware just how rife it is and how vulnerable their business could be at the hands of these phone hackers.
In a bid to stop this illegal activity, telecommunications specialist ComputerTel have added a FraudCatcher solution to their portfolio of telephony services and products. They have also issued a White Paper on the seriousness of phreaking and how companies can reduce their risk.
Sarah-Jane Heber-Hall from the company explains: “Phreaking and telephony fraud in general refers to any method of unauthorised access to your telephone system, which will result in unauthorised calls made via your equipment and which will incur costs for your company.
“Once your system has been compromised, fraudulent calls are virtually undetectable, with outbound calls being made via your business phone system to anywhere in the world. The cost of the onward call is charged by the UK telecoms provider to you, the business owner, as this is where the new call has originated from. You are liable for all calls made over its telephone lines irrespective of who made them or how.
“It can affect any sized business, whether you are a SME or Scotland Yard – yes, even Scotland Yard have themselves been victims of phreaking. If it does happen to your business, it will leave you having to pay potentially huge costs run up by these fraudsters and maybe in some cases, even facing bankruptcy”.
Figures* show that:
- the UK is one of the top 5 countries in the world where phreaking occurs;
- 40% of companies in the UK have been hit at some point;
- phreaking actually costs UK businesses £1.3 to £1.5 billion per annum and this figure is set to rise as more and more UK companies are being targeted;
- the average call charges faced by a company hit by this type of hacking is £10,000, but one company that was hit over a New Year weekend had £25,000 of call charges generated. Scotland Yard’s telephone fraud cost them £1m over an 18 month period;
- the scam is said to be running at up to $80 billion worldwide**.
Ms. Heber-Hall adds: “Many businesses are unaware of the very real threat they face, as this type of fraud is rarely reported in the press, because companies do not want to be perceived as having unsecure telephone lines. Yet hundreds of thousands of companies globally are affected every year.
“That is why we have introduced the innovative Carina FraudCatcher system to our range of services. It is unlike other security management systems currently available which only alert you to potential fraud after the event – FraudCatcher identifies in Real Time any potential fraud on your telephone system, sending alerts to allocated personnel, or if any alerts occur outside of working hours, it will automatically disconnect the call.
“We believe it is an insurance policy for your telephone system”.
ComputerTel have produced a White Paper entitled: Phreaking Telephone Fraud, which gives useful tips and advice on how to become more aware of the threats of telephone fraud and how to prevent it. It is available, free of charge by visiting this link http://www.computertel.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Phreaking-Telephone-fraud-white-paper.pdf
To find out more about FraudCatcher, visit: http://www.computertel.co.uk/products/carina-security-products/