Did you know that almost 1 in 4 SMEs has fallen victim to some type of fraud, and that the average cost of fraud to a small business is £35,000?
A recent study carried out by YouGov for Barclays was interesting. It covered all different types of frauds against SMEs, including telecoms fraud, and found that almost 1 in 4 SMEs has fallen victim to fraud and that 44 per cent of SMEs have been targeted by fraudsters.
We also know that telecoms fraud, in particular, is on the rise. The highest charge experienced by one of our kinex customers was over £330,000. With an estimated annual cost of almost £1billion to UK businesses, it goes to show how potentially damaging telecoms fraud can be.
What is telecoms fraud?
Fraud against SMEs comes in many forms, but telecoms fraud, which affects businesses throughout the UK, isn’t often talked about or widely understood.
What happens is that organised criminals target business phone lines, making extremely high volumes of unsolicited calls. They ‘misuse’ your airtime with no intention of paying any bills. This often results in significant charges being accumulated. Attacks on unmonitored lines can go unnoticed until charges are invoiced and, with few convictions in these cases, it’s you the customer who is typically left liable to pay the bill – for calls you didn’t even make.
Be aware of the signs and protect your business
Sadly, telecommunication fraud exists and it’s a risk that you should be aware of.
There are many methods of this type of fraud, which means that we can’t guarantee to detect potential fraud immediately. As your telecommunication provider, we’ll help you where possible, but we’ll need your help too. Fraudulent activity can involve a whole range of attacks, from cyber and telecoms to banking. And in light of the recent rise of telecoms fraud, it’s a never-ending concern for kinex telecoms customers.
Detection can prevent a lot of unnecessary costs. Here are our top tips to defend your business from telecoms fraud:
- Always be suspicious of unsolicited calls relating to a security/system problem, even if they claim to represent a respected company
- Ask security questions about your account before continuing the call, if the caller can’t answer, they are not legitimate
- Never give out personal information, such as credit card or bank details to a caller
- Never agree to sign up for a product or service or allow the caller to take control of your computer system, as this allows them to gain access to your personal files and harvest information
- Don’t go to a website, type anything into a computer, install software or follow any other instruction from someone who calls you out of the blue
- If you use a public or shared computer, be security conscious. Remember, each time you exit your account you must sign out rather than simply close the window
A report* from law firm, Slater and Gordon, finds that more than £260million of fraud each year goes unreported by SMEs.
One of the main findings from the report is that such a massive amount of loss goes unreported because small businesses don’t think it’s worth the hassle. They also worry about the huge damage to the business’s reputation if reported. Findings show that the fear and risk of exposing fraudulent activity could lead to further fraud and another is that it is too expensive to seek expert help.
SMEs are traditionally vulnerable to fraud, as they tend to lack the carefully-devised and strategic procedures that bigger companies employ. But not having safeguards in place can have a detrimental effect.
How can I protect my business against telecoms fraud?
Early detection is key, and business owners can reduce the risk of telecoms fraud with the kinex FraudDefender.
The kinex FraudDefender:
- Monitors your lines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year
- Detects unusual call activity on your lines
- Alerts kinex to anything suspicious, so that we can investigate it
- Suspends service if necessary preventing further fraud taking place
- Reduces the risk of financial damage
- We offer a FREE trial to all kinex customers – after that it costs just £1.99 a month
Visit the kinex Customer Zone for:
- The latest fraud statistics
- Our fraud jargon buster
- More ways to help protect your business
You will find FraudDefender under telecoms in the services section of Customer Zone.
Your account security is our priority. We constantly monitor the network to safeguard our customers. However, if suspicious account activity is detected which makes us think that your account may be compromised or at risk, we’ll act to secure the account immediately.
If you suspect you’ve been a victim of a phone scam or are concerned that your account has been compromised, please contact us as soon as possible on 0161 465 6655 and remember to report any fraudulent activity to the police.