In an NY Times article, it was noted that in 2013 small business was swindled out of $5 billion in fraudulent phone charges. That number is up $1 billion from 2011, according to the Communications Fraud Control Association.
Digital phone hacking has been going on for years. And the internet has made it easier for hackers to break into on-premise small business phone systems. In one such scam, hackers lease premium rate 900 numbers, the ones that charge in excess of $1 per minute. The lessee gets a percentage each time the number is called. Using high-speed computers, hundreds of calls are made every minute, and in a matter of a few days, can swindle a couple hundred thousand dollars from any one business. The payout for the lessee can be as high as 24 cents for every minute spent on the phone.
Telephone fraud costs thousands of dollars to individual businesses. The Times noted in one instance, “hackers broke into the phone system of Foreman Seeley Fountain Architecture, a small Georgia-based architecture firm, and made $166,000 worth of calls from the firm to premium-rate telephone numbers in Gambia, Somalia, and the Maldives.”
Don’t think that just because you were not the one who made the calls that you will not be the one expected to pick up the check. Even though most phone carriers eventually settle disputable charges which are based on fraud, it can cost those who were duped several thousand dollars to clean up the mess.
Do you have a contingency plan for your small business phone system in the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane? Unbroken communication among staff, vendors, and customers is vital during unpredictable times. Your ability to stay afloat in a sea of turbulence will sustain your overall effort to provide quality service.