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Telecom fraud protection

What is telecom fraud?

Worried businessmanTelecom fraud (also known as toll fraud or phone fraud) generally involves criminals gaining access to your phone system without your permission and making unauthorised calls using your account. It is a global concern that can affect any business, regardless of its telephone provider or the country in which it resides.

The telecoms industry has been aware of the dangers of telecom fraud for many years now, but in recent times we have seen an increase in incidence, with an estimated average cost to the system owner of £22,000 per occurrence in 2014.

Forms of fraud involve:

PBX Fraud (DISA)

The majority of recent fraud cases have occurred around Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems, by direct inward system access (DISA). Criminal attackers gain access to businesses that use a PBX phone/voicemail system and use system commands such as an 800 number or other access number to gain a dial tone.

They place unlimited long-distance calls directly through these lines for unscrupulous operators reselling long-distance at a profit. These calls appear no different to the service or equipment providers than any other call originating from that business.

Voicemail Fraud

Voicemail fraud is the most prevalent type of fraud and the most significant threat to businesses that use a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system or voicemail. An unauthorised third party can gain access to a business’s phone system and place long-distance calls directly through these lines. They gain access most commonly through voicemail menus protected with only simple passwords (1111, 2222, 1234, etc.) or unchanged factory default passwords.

Once inside your system, an unauthorised third party can use the system commands to gain a dial tone and place calls that appear no different to your service or equipment provider than any other call originating from your business.

Police line

Telecom fraud statistics

According to the Federal Trade Commission, telecom fraud accounted for 34% of fraud complaints in 2012, up from 20% in 2010. These numbers continue to grow, as new technology has led to an onslaught of new telecom fraud tactics. The latest schemes are difficult to track and investigate because of their frequency, their layers of anonymity, and their global nature.

$40 billion every year! That’s what the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) estimates the value of telecom fraud. Credit card fraud only accounts for $7.6 billion by comparison.

Public concern

Telecom fraud doesn’t receive much media attention and as a result, many business owners have never heard of it Have a listen to , this Radio 4 program which discusses the level of the threat – and how one company ended up forking out for £15,000.00 of fraud clocked up over a bank holiday weekend. Click here to listen to what happened.

How can Evoke help me to protect my business from Telecom fraud?

PadlockEvoke is dedicated to reducing the risk our customers face to the best extent possible. Whilst you will appreciate that no telecommunications system will be completely immune to the danger, our advice regarding security can alleviate the risk significantly. Here are some main areas to focus on:-

  • Restrict certain numbers or destinations such as international or premium rate, calls – this is ideal if you know the countries you do not do business with. You could also place restrictions on which employees can access such calls or on what time calls are made, as this could stop unauthorised calls in the evening.
  • Analyse your PBX call logs and reports to check for anomalies, calls made out of business hours, calls to other countries that you don’t recognise having done business with or several incoming calls on your call records followed by long outbound calls etc. These are key warning signs of telephone fraud.
  • Having a good password management policy and practice is a strong start toward protecting your business – change voice mail passwords regularly and avoid the combinations that are easy to guess such as 1234 or the extension number. The more characters you use and the more random each employee password, the better. The numbers should never be written down or programmed into auto diallers.
  • Lock any surplus mailboxes and de-activate any system functionality that you don’t need.
  • Make use of smart cards or tokens if remote access ports are utilised..
  • Restrict access to your equipment, such as the comms room.
  • Safeguard your internal directories, call logs reports, etc. in order to prevent unauthorised access.
  • Review your procedures for those leaving the company, and for vetting your new recruits.
  • Ensure sufficient employee training to optimise their knowledge around security and how to identify rogue criminal callers that might be trying to deceive your employees and gain access to your system – For example, asking to be continually transferred between personnel until they obtain an outside line; reoccurring incidents of asking for an invalid extension number; wrong numbers; callers asking who they have reached and silent calls that wait for you to hang up. All of these techniques have been successfully used in the past although criminals are becoming even more discreet and cunning with how they conduct telecom fraud.
  • Review and update your system security, and create action plans for any weak areas that you identify – remember many criminal telecom fraudsters attack over the weekend when many businesses are closed. There is no point receiving an email notifying you that fraud is happening if there is no one manning email over the weekend.

Can I limit my exposure to telecom fraud?


Evoke Telecom Services now offers our customers Fraud Protection which could save your business tens of thousands of pounds in the event of your business being hit with telecom fraud. Remember the average cost to the system owner is £22,000 per occurrence in 2014.

Specifically we can:

  • Automatically cut off any phone number with usage of over £500*.
  • If your phone number spends more than £500 in 24 hours on traffic which is not UK geographic or UK mobile we will cut it off automatically (we can easily turn it on again).
  • Guarantee the charge limit on any breaches* – if the 24 hour £500 threshold is breached, you will not be liable for usage above that level.
  • Automated notification of any cut-off* – in the event of any of your numbers being cut-off, we will send you an email to notify you that a block has been applied. We can then remove the block, if required.

The monthly cost of Evoke’s telecom fraud protection service is just 99p per analogue telephone number, £1.99 per ISDN2 telephone number, £9.99 per ISDN30 telephone number and £1.00 per SIP channel.

* Please see our terms and conditions.

Get in touch

To start protecting your company today from huge financial loss as a result of toll fraud, please contact our sales team on (0800) 8403688 or (01509) 278278 and a member of the team will be happy to discuss the service further with you. Existing customers, please call your dedicated Account Manager who will be delighted to advise you further.

Terms & Conditions for Evoke Telecom Fraud Protection

This service, which is chargeable, will operate to bar calls by a CLI (telephone number) where calls from that CLI to destinations other than UK geographic or UK mobile numbers totaling over £500 have been made within a 24 hour period. The parameters are as follows:

CPS calls

CPS (Carrier Pre-Select) calls are calls that are routed over an alternative carrier to BT.

Automated Call Barring

  • Operates on a per CLI basis (i.e. the service will be applied to all CLIs where the service is active and paid for)
  • Will only operate on CPS calls
  • When spend by a single CLI on CPS calls to all destinations other than UK geographic or UK mobile reaches £500 within a 24 hour period further calls from that CLI will be barred. This bar will apply to all destinations including UK geographic and UK mobile.
  • The activation of the bar will generate an email from our supplier notifying us that the bar is in place. We will then in turn endeavor to notify you that the bar is in place.
  • The call bar can be lifted upon request by our customer, subject to us being able to authenticate the request is genuine.

Guaranteed Charge Limit

As a result of the Automated CLI Call Barring, charges for CPS calls to the relevant destinations will be limited to £500 for as long as the bar remains in place.

Cost of the Service

The charge for this service is £0.99 per analogue CLI per month, £1.99 per ISDN2 circuit per month, £9.99 per ISDN30 CLI per month and £1.00 per SIP channel per month.

All values mentioned exclude value added tax.

The £500 threshold is based on the wholesale cost of the calls.

Limitation of liability

Where Evoke Telecom Services Ltd have taken all measures to prevent incidents of toll fraud as outlined in these terms and conditions, we will not be liable for any cost incurred due to toll fraud of any kind whatsoever.

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