Call Routing, Security

Don’t Let Toll Fraud Be a Drag on Your Bottom Line

I’m sure you’ve heard of vampire devices, electronics like televisions, cable boxes and DVD players that consume power even when we think they’re turned off.

It may come as a shock, but your private branch exchange (PBX) system could become a vampire device as well–except it siphons off money rather than electricity.  

This might be happening to you right now via a process known as toll fraud. By understanding it more thoroughly, you can put down this vampire process before it does real and lasting damage to your bottom line.

In fact, more than $50 billion in losses are incurred each year as a result of toll fraud according to the Communications Fraud Control Association.

What is Toll Fraud?

Also known as “international revenue sharing fraud” or IRSF, toll fraud takes advantage of routing calls through expensive carrier routes to reach their connection. Using premium rate numbers, a toll fraud practitioner sends long calls to these numbers and gets a piece of the revenue in the process.

How does toll fraud happen? Usually, toll fraud takes place on a weekend when no one’s in the office. Fraudsters then take the chance generated by the office’s emptiness to breach a PBX or VoIP system and launching a series of concurrent calls in a bid to beat any detection systems a service provider might have in place. Sometimes, dishonest carriers themselves will even be involved in helping to make those connections.


How do I Beat Toll Fraud?

While no one method will always beat toll fraud, there are several possibilities to try.

Start with better account security (change your passwords), including phone number, payment systems, and email verification. Limit your overall calling to specific geographic areas to prevent many of the leading destinations of call fraud, like Cuba, Latvia, Gambia, Somalia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, from even being factors.

Chances are you’re already using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to create a barrier, or firewall, to protect your VoIP system from hackers and fraudulent activities. SIP works by monitoring data and voice packets coming into and out of your network, so they automatically filter fraudulent voice calls.

Consider putting a ceiling on your total call rate; since fraudsters like high-volume, having low-volume connections makes for a less-attractive target. Since this has a risk of alienating customers or service providers, consider using vetting procedures to make sure the customer is properly verified, and then open up the connection to full volume.


What to Do When You Need Help Addressing Toll Fraud in Your Business

It’s easy to get confused by the sheer volume of information about toll fraud out there. The best thing you can do is turn to an expert for help.

Start by contacting us at thinQ, where we’ve got the tools and technology to not only help you prevent and address toll fraud, but also improve your voice and messaging performance. Our connections to more than 40 of the top carriers means you’ll get the most out of your telecom dollar, so get in touch with us today to learn more.

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