Telecoms Fraud on the Rise

Evidence that telecom fraud rises when times get tough means that firms need to be more vigilant in how they manage their business according to Mark Armstrong, Managing Director of call management software vendor MIND.

“Telecoms Fraud can be split into two separate areas: Toll Fraud and Time Theft or ‘Desk Skiving’.

‘Toll Fraud’ is the use of an organisations telecoms resources by internal or external individuals to make unauthorised phone calls. Hackers or fraudsters do this to obtain free calls, steal company information or cause malicious damage. A single external attack can cost an organisation anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds whereas internal abuse tends to be longer term. However the costs can quickly mount up.

Employee ‘Time Theft’ or ‘Desk Skiving’ can be equally as costly. A recent survey of 1,500 employees found that over one third of respondent’s average 30 minutes a day on personal tasks in working time. Assume that 10 minutes of this is on personal phone calls – this equates to 2,300 minutes or 38.3 hours per year on personal phone calls ! Multiply this by the number of employees then factor in the call costs, cost in salaries, lost productivity and lost potential revenue then the cost to the business becomes astronomical.”

Armstrong says there are three main areas of defence from telecoms fraud:

1) Ensure that you have the appropriate internal processes in place such as a clearly defined telecoms usage policy;

2) Restrictions can be set on the PBX

3) Effective use of call logging.

MIND is working with channel partners to assist their customers guard against the threat of Telecoms Fraud. We have created a ‘Five Minute Telecoms Fraud Risk Assessment’, a simple tick list to highlight the potential risks from telecoms fraud. Typically this results in consultation services being delivered by the channel partner to enable phone system security features and the deployment of PhonEX ONE, MIND’s call logging solution. PhonEX ONE goes beyond the standard functionality of call loggers when protecting against telecoms fraud delivering automated reports, real time alerting and also barring outbound calls on the Cisco and Avaya phone systems when they have reached a predefined £ amount in a given time period. We even monitor and report on mobile call usage and costs an area of where abuse is rife and as much as 35% can be saved on the bill.”

Armstrong concludes, “No organisation can consider itself safe from the potential risk, the best guard against telecoms fraud remains an educated, prepared and informed organisation.”