Preventing Toll Fraud: 4 Things Your Business Needs to Know

We’re serious about VoIP security, especially when it comes to preventing toll fraud.  In this article, we’ll explain how toll fraud occurs, and review 4 of the best steps you can take to protect your business’s VoIP phone system from fraudulent activity.

What is toll fraud?

Toll fraud, which is sometimes called VoIP fraud, is when a hacker is able to access your phone system and make fraudulent long distance calls from your account.

Long distance per-minute charges add up fast.  According to a survey conducted by the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA), a whopping $46.3 billion in losses were attributed to toll fraud in 2013 alone.

Although the best VoIP providers offer round the clock fraud monitoring, it is still important for business owners to be aware of potential vulnerabilities and take steps to prevent toll fraud.

4 Steps You Can Take to Prevent Toll Fraud

Although there are several ways in which toll fraud can be committed, PBX hacking is high on the list.  By using some of the proactive measures described below, you can protect your PBX and prevent toll fraud.

Use strong passwords

Although it may seem obvious, passwords are one of the best weapons you can use in the battle against toll fraud.  If you’ve picked a simple password that includes your name or other public information, or even kept the factory-set default password for your PBX, you’re leaving yourself open to attack.

First and foremost (and we can’t stress this enough), always reset the default password on your PBX.  When you create a new one, be sure to include a combination of lower and upper case letters, special characters, and numbers.  You should also ensure that your password is at least 8 characters long.

It’s also a good idea to change your PBX’s password whenever an employee who previously had access leaves your company.  (It’s not personal – it’s just best practice.)

Set up a firewall

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is often used to create firewalls that help to protect VoIP phone systems from fraud.  A SIP-based firewall, which inspects both voice and data packets as they pass through your network, can be used as a filter for fraudulent calling.

Implement international calling restrictions

Many VoIP phone systems can be configured to restrict international calling entirely, or to allow secured access.  If your business makes a lot of international phone calls, consider adding an extra layer of security, such as an authorization code that must be inputted before placing an international or long distance call.

If you’re not sure how to add this extra precaution, contact your VoIP service provider for assistance.

Review your call logs regularly

This is another simple but important step in preventing toll fraud.  Most VoIP phone system interfaces allow you to track incoming and outgoing calls; be sure to look at these on a weekly (if not daily) basis.

If your business is primarily domestic, any international call should be a red flag.  Businesses that do make a lot of long distance calls should be aware of the countries where toll fraud most often occurs.

According to the CFCA’s 2013 Global Fraud Loss Survey, the top five countries where toll fraud terminates are:

  • Latvia
  • Gambia
  • Somalia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Guinea

Protecting Your VoIP Phone System from Toll Fraud

Although VoIP providers are making great strides when it comes to security, it’s still important for businesses to be aware of any potential risk, and understand the part they play in preventing toll fraud.

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