Face for Business

Face For Business & Small Business Saturday

Face For Business has been profiled as one of 100 small businesses in the run up to the country’s first ever Small Business Saturday UK. The idea originated in America, and has been taking place on the first Saturday after thanksgiving, with the main message to ‘shop local’ and use independent businesses.

Face For Business signed up for this initiative a couple of months ago as we felt passionate about raising the profile of small businesses in the UK.

As we provide business services mostly for SME’s, we came up with a campaign that we thought would be beneficial.   We have read numerous reports over the past few months concerning dial through fraud and the cost it has on new and small businesses, and we wanted to make it our aim to provide an understanding of this type of fraud and to provide guidelines on how to eliminate it. Furthermore, Andy MacGregor the Owner of Face For Business, experienced this first-hand, as it happened to him in a different company.

phreaking photo

Dial Through Fraud & Phreaking

“Phreaking”, or “dial through fraud”, is the UK’s fastest growing telephone hacking activity, seeing organised gangs target companies with phone systems, more often than not during out of office hours, hoping that any calls made will go undetected.

This is an area that phone hackers or ‘phreakers’ abuse by taking advantage of businesses using dial through functions to retrieve messages whilst on the road. Hackers use businesses ‘dial out’ functions to hack into phone systems and ring out to premium rate numbers, or expensive international numbers.

It usually begins by targeting a business that allows their workers to call in from outside the office and use their employers’ phone lines to make calls. A PIN number normally needs to be used to access the phone line, but it is usually the case that the original number given has not been changed from the pre-set passcode of 1234.

These criminal activities reportedly costs UK small businesses a collective £1bn, and can also go undetected as most businesses do not know that these types of crimes exist. This is why Face For Business, as a call handling and telephone answering service for small businesses, would like to raise awareness of dial through fraud and ‘phreaking’ as part of Small Business Saturday UK.

If you think you have been a victim of dial-through fraud report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre. Contact 0300 123 20 40 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

Preventative Guidelines

There are numerous steps you can take to avoid falling into the ‘phreaking’ trap, and there is a plethora of information available on the internet about this type of crime, but Face For Business has provided a summary of the main actions to take to help prevent your company becoming a target.>

We have done some research on dial through fraud, and have included links to sites for review towards the end of this page. However, if you come across any additional sites associated with dial through fraud, please feel free to email sara.parker@ffb.co.uk, and she will update our blog to capture this information.

In summary:

  • Ensure that your phone system has a strong username and password for any portal used to set the phone system up.
  • Request that your provider bars premium rate numbers and international numbers, so even if dial through fraud has been committed, the phreakers will not be able to dial the expensive numbers.
  • Check your phone system has not been set up to allow individuals to dial in to voicemails and then dial out again using the company phone lines.

Some further information can be found on the following website:

T.U.F.F You can contact the ‘Telecommunications United Kingdom Fraud Forum’ (TUFF) to report a dial through fraud crime here www.tuff.co.uk

Dial Through Fraud & Phreaking Links