If you detect or suspect telephone system or voicemail tampering, or that you are the victim of telecommunications fraud, take immediate action. Telecom fraud charges can mount quickly - you can't afford to lose a minute. Your first call should be to your equipment vendor and your second call to your long-distance provider. Together they can begin to pinpoint the fraud source and block further fraud attempts. While no telecommunications system can be made entirely free from the risk of fraud, diligent attention to system security can reduce the risk considerably. One thing you can almost count on - when fraud happens it won't happen at a convenient time. These criminals often will direct their heaviest assaults on your network when vigilance is at its lowest, during non-business hours, in the middle of the night, on weekends or holidays.
Voicemail fraud is the most prevalent type of fraud and the most significant threat to businesses that use a phone system with voicemail. An unauthorized third party can gain access to a business's phone system and place long-distance calls directly through your lines. They gain access most commonly through voicemail menus protected with only simple passwords (1111, 2222, 1234, etc.) or unchanged factory default passwords. Voice mailboxes that are suddenly locked or passwords that have somehow changed can all be signs of an intruder making changes to the voicemail. Once inside your system, an unauthorized third party can use the system commands to gain a dial tone and place calls that appear no different to your service or equipment provider than any other call originating from your business. Having a good password management policy and practice is a strong start towards protection.
Monitor and Analyze Your Telephone Companies Long Distance Billing
Continuous monitoring of your company's calling patterns will help you to identify fraud at an early stage and minimize loss. It's a good idea to regularly monitor your Telephone Company’s (Bell, Allstream,etc.) call detail records. Learn to spot patterns such as an increase in after-hours calls, calls to countries you don't do business with, multiple short duration inbound calls (especially after working hours).Watch for numerous incoming calls on your 800 lines followed shortly thereafter by a surge in long duration outbound 800 calls, which may indicate that an unauthorized third party has entered your phone system through your 800 lines and is dialling out. Our next Blog post will focus on what you can do to safeguard your telephone and voicemail system from Long Distance Telecom Fraud. You can always call our Service Department for advice and help at any time. We are happy to help.