According to a survey conducted by Incom in 2012, telecom fraud is currently costing SMEs around 1 billion a year.

Phone hackers who target these SMEs are skilled engineers, who focus on vulnerable telecommunications systems. Organisations such as Ofcom, City of London, and Action Fraud advise that small businesses should take precautions to prevent themselves from being targeted. Dave Millett, of Equinox offers the following five steps to prevent telephone fraud –

“1) A number of suppliers offer fraud detection – some for free and some at a charge. However, it is important to read the detail to understand exactly what is covered and how it works.

2) SMEs need to be cautious when speaking over the phone to representatives claiming to be calling from their provider or in relation to their phone systems. If you’re unsure always end the call, bar calls from unknown numbers, and/or do not call numbers you have never seen before.

3) SMEs should ensure that employees are aware of the risks and how to mitigate them. Security measures, such as passwords or questions on their accounts, should be set-up. Make them unique and memorable – not predictable. Ofcom says that many telecom fraudsters target businesses because their passwords are too obvious.

4) The rise of IP or Internet solutions such as SIP and VoIP has created a new set of potential problems. Before businesses moved from analogue phones to IP phone networks, employees could seldom access anything relating to their phones from the corporate computer network – but with an Internet solution they can.

5) Whether it is landlines or IP – setting up call bars on premium numbers and, unless required for normal business, international numbers can limit the impact if your systems are compromised.”

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