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Stefni Oliver, Daisy Retail Operations Director, shares her tips to avoid being the victim of telephone fraud. 

Every year, thousands of UK businesses lose money to telephone fraud – from a couple of hundred quid to millions of pounds. It has unfortunately become common within every industry as fraudsters target businesses and organisations without exception, from small corner shops to globally-recognised enterprises.

Don’t think your business is safe from hacking – everyone is potentially at risk.

The dangerous world of fraud

The cost implications of telephone fraud for a business can often be huge, and in some cases the losses can leave SMEs on the edge of financial meltdown. Businesses have a responsibility to protect their telephone system to avoid being caught up in a fraudulent scam.

Traditionally, telephone fraudsters or hackers have targeted a telephone system during the evenings or over the weekend, when they know an office will be unattended and systems will have been switched onto “auto-attendant”. Although a company may reopen on a Monday and think that it is business as usual, the fraudsters could have routed calls through its system all weekend without anyone knowing, racking up a massive telephone bill that the business would have to deal with at the end of the month.

In order to avoid being scammed, you need to make sure your business takes security seriously. But it’s not just about making sure the office door is securely locked, you need to also make sure that your telephone system is equally secure.

Prevention tips

While no telecommunications system can guarantee that your business will be entirely free from the risk of fraud, diligent attention to system security can reduce the risk considerably. Here are four simple measures to implement.

1. Change passwords

Make sure staff change passwords, PINs and access codes at least four times a year for both switch (software based/remote access) and hardware-based voicemail systems, as well as automated attendant services, especially “Night Service”.

2. Voicemail PIN

If someone leaves your company make sure you immediately change their voicemail PIN. Using an easy to guess PIN such as 1234 or 0000 is similar to leaving the door wide open for the opportunist fraudster.

3. Use complex passwords

Make sure staff use a complex password that has a minimum of six characters and contains alphanumeric characters.

4. Call blocking

Utilise call blocking features if necessary to prevent hackers racking up large bills by ringing premium rate and international numbers through your system.

And finally!

It is important to take the time to make sure staff are aware of the dangers of telephone fraud in order to prepare them appropriately. However, if you are unsure on how to implement any security measures, don’t be afraid to contact your telephone system provider and ask them to help. That one phone call could end up saving your business!

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