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Toll fraud; the scenario where hackers will gain access to a company’s phone network in order to make expensive international calls, is an unfortunate, yet fairly common, problem with VoIP phone systems.

Over the last few years, this intrusive form of cybercrime has increased rapidly, and is now estimated to cost businesses in excess of 3 billion pounds each year – almost five times as much as reported in 2011.

Toll fraud can be particularly devastating to small-to-medium businesses if VoIP operators refuse to pay back fraudulent charges. Such companies will naturally struggle significantly to cover unforeseen costs in the event of fraudulent activity.

To this end, it is vital to ensure that your VOIP provider not only covers the cost of any such calls, but also that they have solid, proactive processes in place to effectively detect and shut down VOIP fraud quickly.

It would seem that many VoIP operators still lack the tools required to ascertain whether or not calls were made fraudulently – and some will even use this as an excuse to keep the money. With fraudulent calls costing up to several pounds a minute; bills can soon add up. By knowing up front that your carrier will back you up in the event of an attack, you can gain extra peace of mind.

Many small-to-medium businesses will avoid larger VoIP firms, as they are generally-speaking more expensive than smaller start-ups. However, it is very important to consider the fact that they will usually guarantee to pay back fraudulent charges as part of their fee.

Obviously, ensuring that attacks don’t happen in the first place, or at least taking measures to limit them, should be a priority for any business. IP phone systems can easily be adjusted to restrict international calls without a special code – or alternatively, can be protected via the use of a firewall to prevent fraudulent users from accessing the VoIP system – but companies still need to factor in the possibility of toll fraud when they are choosing a VoIP provider, to avoid nasty surprises down the line.

Related content

Fraud negatively impacts everyone, including residential and commercial customers, with losses increasing the communications carriers’ operating costs, resulting in higher service costs to the end user. Read our two part technical briefing on fraud in the telecommunications industry here.

Read Steffen’s interview regarding monitoring and responding to fraudulent activity out of hours here.

Read more about our fraud management services here and our network surveillance activity here.

Check out our Voice Fraud Infographic to see where the attacks are being made and how.

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