PES Blog: Preventing Phone Crime: Keep the Phreaks at bay

Neville Snell Director Business Cost Solutions

As with all technologies nowadays the opportunity for theft grows expediently with each new reiteration of systems and upgrades across a variety of communication channels.

So for businesses in addition to being able to communicate with customers, clients and business partners in new and challenging ways it also means that the risk of fraud and theft increases.

You will no doubt be well aware of the dangers posed by the hacking of IT systems but many businesses are less aware of issues around Phreaking. This phone crime, not to be confused with a 1990s dance move, is the hacking of telephone networks.

Phone crimePhone phreaks exploit weaknesses in phone systems to make long-distance calls for free, tap into other’s calls, take control of lines, get free phone services, and the like. Such phone crime can potentially cause huge expense to the owner of the call system and it can be difficult to prove that the calls were not their responsibility.

So what can be done to reduce the risk of phone crime? Help is at hand with telephone systems and processes which are available to stop abuse.  This can range from “capping” line charges to limit expenditure to more sophisticated call tracking and monitoring systems which spot unusual patterns of use.

Ultimately the security of the phone system lies with the bill payer and phone companies are loath to stand the cost of any abuse.  Phreaking has been known to run up bills in excess of £20,000 over a weekend with the use of premium rate numbers being dialled and the owner of the premium rate owner benefitting from large revenues which only come to light when the bill arrives.

Until recently the insurance industry has been slow to react but now is beginning to catch up with policies that now protect against the costs of cyber and phone crime such as breach costs, media damage, hacker repair and so on. It is not only the cost of any initial losses but the cost of ensuring that this does not happen again that may cost more in the long run.

Through our Cost Reduction Solutions service we work to find and tailor the best insurance for our clients to not necessarily mitigate such cyber attacks, but certainly to ensure that additional safeguards are in place.

The PlayStation hacking incident which affected 77 million registered users, not only cost Sony huge expense to rectify it but also (and possibly more importantly) damaged their brand reputation.  It showed that even if you have the most comprehensive of gate keepers, firewalls and safeguards it is possible that you may be affected by this crime.

Often technology runs sometimes at a faster pace than the safeguards against abuse and it seems sometimes that the opportunity to defraud runs faster than our ability to defend against it.  However, as ever potential abusers always look for the easier targets than ones that take time and effort to break, and it may well be that your systems are next on their hit lists.

If you would like to find out more or just call for a chat about how your business can benefit, contact . Remember the cost review is without obligation and can increase your profit with little effort on your part.


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