May 22, 2024



Phone Fraud Still a Problem For US Businesses

Whatever happened to telecom fozia shan siddiqi fraud?  Does it still exist?  Should you as a business owner be concerned? Despite huge advances in security technology and increased telecommunication security protection and customer awareness, phone fraud continues to be a major concern for all businesses.  Just the thought of the possibility of thousands of dollars in losses to a business because of phone fraud is daunting. The fact is that phone fraud still has the potential to put your business out of business and that is a scary proposition. Even with the advent of VOIP technology, the thieves have continued to figure out how to hack even the most complicated systems and companies like yours and mine can still suffer as a result. 

There are three primary kinds of phone fraud that most of us should be concerned with and that will be addressed in this article. Nuisance fraud (cramming and slamming), proprietary phone system (PBX and key system) fraud, voice mail fraud and the newest challenge, VOIP phone system fraud. 

Nuisance Fraud: Most of us as business professionals will at some time or another encounter nuisance fraud, otherwise known as slamming and cramming. Nuisance fraud usually cannot make or break a business when it strikes, but it can drain revenues if left unchecked on the phone bill.    

Cramming occurs when a third-party provider charges for services or fees that the customer has not authorized. These charges are neither ordered nor desired by your company. These charges can include products and services such as bogus voice mail service charges, operator assisted calls, calling card programs, monthly service fees and credit check services.   Also, bogus yellow pages and white pages advertising can also mysteriously appear on your business phone bills or be billed to you directly.   

Cramming is the addition of charges to a subscriber’s telephone bill for services which were neither ordered nor desired by the client, or for fees for calls or services that were not properly disclosed to the consumer. These charges are often assessed by dishonest third-party suppliers of data and communication service that phone companies are required, by law, to allow the third-party to place on the bill.

Have you ever looked at your local telephone bill and seen odd charges from “other service providers that you do not recognize?” If you have, chances are very good that you’ve been crammed. For large businesses, the charges are buried deeply in the bills and are difficult to notice, and can go on for years, month after month without being noticed. 

How can you get refunds and combat cramming?   First, call your local phone provider and ask them to reverse the charges to the offending party. In most cases, they will.  If they do not cooperate, contact the FCC, your better state attorney general and the FTC to lodge a complaint.  However, first let the crammer know that you would like give them the opportunity to refund your money.   

Slamming can occur when there is an unauthorized switch or change of a carrier providing local, local toll or long distance service. Slamming is frustrating because dishonest phone companies are able easily to change or “pic” your long distance service to their plans, often at a much higher rate than your preferred or selected carrier had provided. Even after you discover the fraud, there is still the headache of switching all of your lines back to the long distance provider you should have and getting the fraudulent service to issue you a refund. How do you prevent it? Ask the carrier to put a “pic freeze” on your phone lines. Insist on a corporate password for access on your all of your local, cellular and long distance phone accounts and restrict all access to those accounts to two key people in your company.