Toll Fraud - Billions of dollars a year in lost revenue - Could you be next?

Posted by Elaine Blodgett, Zeus Communications South, LLC

July 16, 2014; 4:01 PM

Network security is crucial At a recent meeting, I spoke to Dealers that work with equipment and carrier services. My first message was about addressing the growing concern over Toll Fraud. The numbers are staggering: billions of dollars a year are lost to thieves and hackers, so investing in a service committed to the security of your end-users is important for your customers’ business and yours.

Acquiring new customers takes an investment of time and money from your business, so it is good to make sure you provide services that address a specific need. Offering SIP Trunks is a great way to attract new customers who may have concerns over security. Why risk a customer and ongoing sales when, with a little attention, a customer’s system can be protected against toll fraud, reaping big benefits for the customer and your business. 

As the dealer, you must ensure you have a handle on security of your customers systems; they look to you to help protect them against security breaches and the high cost of toll fraud. Obvious things to consider first when installing a PBX, on-premise or Cloud, is to always use passwords that aren’t simple. Most systems hacked have passwords set with simple “password” or “1234.” Consider creating passwords that use a combination of letters and numbers, making them much less obvious. Combinations like SecurityW0rks or Pr0tect may be simple to remember but harder to crack. The key is to PROTECT – your PBX, your voicemail, and your customer. 

I have seen customers experience huge carrier bills for Toll Fraud, and if you ever have to deal with the red tape of getting these fees waived, you are in for a wild ride. For example, I had a small rural school district hacked in the early days of SIP Trunking. It happened over the Christmas holiday and resulted in $6,000 worth of calls to Somalia in 3 days. Another customer came to me after being hit by a bill of over $60,000 worth of toll fraud on a major carrier’s hosted PBX. 

THE CUSTOMER IS LIABLE FOR THIS! If you don’t ensure your client’s security, you will lose the customer and your reputation. It is that serious!

I used to believe all carriers use anti-fraud protection software. It’s just logical, right? Unfortunately though, most carriers and installers do not take responsibility for this loss. So what can you do about it? Find a provider and a partner that believes security to be of top priority and builds their network to monitor and protect your customers.

Good news! ESI Cloud Services has some great new software for monitoring, identifying potential issues and stopping toll fraud quickly. The ESI security protocol scans your call details quickly and identifies any anomalies. I have experienced this firsthand with ESI, I was so excited to receive two reports of international toll fraud stopped prior to the customer seeing any revenue loss. Credit goes to the management for understanding and taking this action to protect us all.

What’s a customer worth to you? Toll Fraud - $1,000s in costs to your customers. Fraud Protection management – priceless.

Topics: Toll fraud