Introduction


At the end of this article, you will have the ability to identify and avoid unsolicited fraudulent activity. Should you need any assistance, feel free to contact our support department. 


Scam Call Education

 

Scam callers are individuals calling you with the malicious intent of trying to steal your account details or personal information. These scammers do not target specific people, therefore, anyone can be deceived by them. Scammers tend to use promising and convincing tactics to persuade you into sharing your personal and confidential details. 

Are you being constantly hassled in the following ways?

  • • Malicious calls;
  • • Scam calls;
  • • Abandoned or silent calls;
  • • Hoax or abusive calls.

If you are receiving frequent and on-going Scam Calls in, please report the scam to:

AU: https://www.Scamwatch.gov.au.
NZ: https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/general-help/scamwatch/
UK: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/scams/reporting-a-scam/ 

 

Types of Scam Calls related to fraud risks which may expose you or your company

 

We recommend educating yourself and your staff members with identifying the types of Scam calls related to fraud risks.

Signs to watch out for include but are not limited to: 

  • • Receiving emails from unknown or unregistered domains. Email domains to be cautious of include pat_13654ty_14541@gmail.com or nick1891au@gmail.com;
  • • Answering "robocalls" or pre-recorded messages requesting/demanding payment;
  • • Receive calls or emails from unknown individuals with an unusual sense of urgency;
  • • Receiving text messages from unverified numbers congratulating you for winning an unknown prize or requesting to update your account details by clicking on an obscure link;
  • • Ongoing and frequent unsolicited phone calls from the same number;
  • • Scammers may also disguise their number so it seems they are calling locally.

For further information, please visit: 

AU: ACMA - Phone Scams or Australian Government Services - How to know if its a scam.
NZ: New Zealand Government - Scams or Spark - Scams & Safety
UK: Metropolitan Police - Phone Scams or Age UK - Phone Scams

 

Blocking suspicious or unwanted international or domestic calls

 

We highly recommended being proactive when coming across suspicious or unwanted international or domestic calls. If you are unsure if a number is suspicious, we urge you to search the number on Google to locate information about the owner.

How to block callers on your device:

  • • If you are using a mobile, you will be able to block specific numbers in your call history;
  • • If you are using a landline, you may already have a feature that allows you to block unwanted callers or you may purchase a device for your existing phone to block specific calls. 

How can the system assist you with handling unsolicited calls?
We offer a PBX blacklist object that can be configured within your call flow to reject calls based on the caller's number. Spam or unwanted callers can be added into this object and their call will be rejected automatically. For further information on how to configure this object, please refer to our Block Inbound Spam Callers knowledge-base article.

Alternatively, you have the ability to block all numbers from a certain country based on their prefix. For example, if you are receiving a large number of calls from China (prefix +86), you can configure our caller ID routing object within the call flow to block or filter out numbers calling from that prefix. For further information on how to configure this object, please refer to our Inbound Caller ID Routing knowledge-base article. 

 

Steps to minimise these risks

 

To minimise and avoid being influenced by any scams or fraudulent schemes, we highly recommend following these series of steps: 

  • • Protecting your personal information and not sharing it with unknown or unsolicited callers;
  • • Carefully choose who you share personal details with online and update your privacy settings on social media;
  • • Contact your financial institution if you believe you have lost money to a scammer;
  • • Changing your default PINs and passwords on newly acquired customer equipment; 
  • • Selecting strong PINs and passwords (e.g. Not "1234" or "0000" or "password" etc);  
  • • Locking mobile handsets with secure PINs;
  • • Ensuring that voicemail PINs are secure;
  • • Disabling PBX ports and features that are not used (e.g. remote call-forwarding);
  • • Changing PINs and passwords regularly; 
  • • Not responding to missed calls or SMS from unknown International Numbers, unknown AU, NZ or UK numbers or an unknown source; 
  • • Blocking suspicious or unknown domestic or International Numbers on mobile handsets and use of blocking services or products, where available, on landlines;
  • • Allowing unknown calls to go to voicemail and then listening to any message left to ascertain if this might be a genuine call.

 

Everything you need to know about toll fraud


Toll fraud refers to unauthorised individual's gaining access to a phone system and making unsolicited fraudulent phone calls from your system and account to premium-rate numbers (the caller is charged additional fees). According to the international body for fraud risk management and prevention, the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA), it is estimated that toll fraud cost telecommunications providers and their customers $US 28.3 billion in 2019.

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Source: (2019) Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) - Global Telecom Fraud Survey  

Top destinations for toll fraud

Any country that has expensive calling rates is a likely destination for toll fraud scamming. Some of the top destinations for toll fraud currently are listed below:

  1. • Cuba
  2. • Latvia
  3. • Somalia
  4. • Lithuania
  5. • Guinea
  6. • Gambia
  7. • Maldives
  8. • Estonia
  9. • Zimbabwe
  10. • Tunisia

How to protect yourself and your business:

  • • Work with your telecommunications provider;
    A good telecommunications company is part of the solution in mitigating the risk of toll fraud. Speak with your provider and ask about their risk reductions strategies, such as international barring. 

  • • Use a managed firewall;
    Telecommunications companies are very adept at configuring firewalls to minimise the chances of toll fraud or another breach. You might have a great all-round IT manager within your business, but since telecommunications providers face this problem daily, they have valuable expertise. Ask their advice in configuring your firewall, or better yet, use a managed firewall for your organisation.

  • • Minimise visibility;
    Most commonly, these scammers will attempt to hack businesses with vulnerable firewalls such as open ports where information is easily extracted. If managing your own firewall, reduce ports exposed to remote access as much as possible. As this is generally the way hackers find their way in. Minimising the possible access areas is going to make your PBX more secure.

  • • Strong passwords;
    This point cannot be stressed enough. The most effective measure to take against PBX hacking or other cybercrime is to use complex and varied passwords.

    If you have difficulty remembering a complex password, use a password keeper software to keep track of them or use a memorable phrase with substituted numerical, capitalisation and punctuation variations. Change regularly.

  • • Check with ISDN configuration;
    SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a great technology for business communications. It cuts down on call costs and when utilised within a well-configured IP network, can deliver better security than Internet telephony options.

  • • Block international prefixes;
    Most PBX’s can block all or some international numbers. As previously mentioned, some of the top countries for toll fraud termination include Latvia (+371), Gambia (+220), Somalia (+252), Sierra Leone (+232) and Guinea (+224). Cuba, Timor-Leste and Lithuania are also hot spots for toll fraud termination. Unless you are specifically doing business internationally, blocking certain country prefixes can limit your risk. For further information, please refer to our Inbound Caller ID Routing and Block Inbound Spam Callers knowledge-base article. 

How can the system assist you with handling toll fraud?

You will have the ability to reduce the chance of toll fraud by configuring custom dial plans within your PBX system. By restricting international calls and updating the dial plans, this further protects your company from fraudsters. For further information on how to configure this object, please refer to our Restricting Dialing Destinations knowledge-base article. 

Should you need any further assistance with minimising fraudulent activity with your business, feel free to contact our support department.