Toll fraud

Toll fraud crime illustration

Toll fraud: what it is

Toll or phone fraud is theft. It happens when an attacker gains unauthorised access to your phone system and makes unauthorised calls with your account. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to ensure the security of your phone system and protect your company from fraud.

The growth of toll fraud

CFCA logoAccording to a survey carried out by the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) in 2013, toll-fraud accounts for worldwide business losses of $46.3 billion, an increase of 15% from 2011. 90% of participants confirmed an increase in telecoms fraud cases since 2011 with fraud departments reporting on average 117% more cases per month since 2011. The majority of these cases were in Western Europe. PBX hacking was the second biggest method of toll fraud, and regarded as the greatest emerging telecoms fraud method.

The results of this survey confirm that telecom fraud remains a lucrative criminal business.

Jacob Howell CCSP, CFCA Board Member and Director of Fraud Management Solutions for TEOCO Corporation

A public concern

Toll fraud is not often in the public eye meaning often business owners have never heard of it, but here is a Radio 4 program that discusses the level of the threat. One company was subject to £15,000.00 of fraud over a bank holiday weekend: click here to listen to the item.

Protecting your business

There are a number of steps you can take to protect your business from the threat of toll fraud. At NT Voice and Data we suggest the following:

  • Restrict certain numbers or destinations e.g. premium rate, international calls
  • Analyse PBX call logs and reports for anomalies, out of hours calls, etc
  • Change voice mail passwords on a regular basis and avoid obvious combinations e.g. 1234 or the extension number
  • Lock surplus mailboxes and de-activate all unnecessary system functionality
  • Use smart cards or tokens if remote access ports are used
  • Restrict access to equipment e.g. comms room
  • Safeguard internal directories, call logs reports, etc to prevent unauthorised access
  • Review procedures for leavers and for vetting new recruits
  • Review and update system security, with action plans for any weak areas identified.

Whether you are an existing client or new to our team, we would be pleased to discuss how your company can protect itself from falling victim to the increasing threat of toll fraud. For a chat without obligation, call us on 01623 687750, or drop us an email:

More information:

Fraud Method Description
Abuse of network, device or configuration weakness--Exploitation of a configuration weakness to gain access to a network or device Exploitation of a configuration weakness to gain access to a network or device
Abuse of Service Terms & Conditions Violation of the carrier's service terms and conditions or acceptable use policy
Account Takeover / Identity Take Over Use of identity information (real or synthetic ID theft) to obtain a new account or to gain access to an existing account
Brand Name / Logo Abuse Acquisition and use of a company's logo without permission
Clip-on Fraud Stealing service by attaching wires to another customer's phone equipment
Dealer Fraud All types of fraud conducted by indirect and 3rd party dealers
Mobile Malware Compromised mobile applications
Network/IT Abuse (e.g. Internal fraud/employee theft) Theft of service or equipment by employees
PBX Hacking Compromised PBX systems used to make calls
Phishing / Pharming (e.g. internet fraud) Stealing bandwidth, hacking, phishing, vishing, etc.
Pre-Paid Equipment & Services All types of fraud and abuse involving pre-paid equipment and services
Proxy Fraud Manipulation of the IP address to hide someone's true origination or identity
Signalling Manipulation Manipulation of the SIP or SS7 signaling message to hide the true origination or identity of a caller
SIM Cloning Duplicated SIM card used to charge phone calls back to the original SIM card
SMS Faking or Spoofing Manipulation of the ANI to hide the true origination or identity of the caller
Social Engineering Manipulation of an employee or customer to unintentionally give out important information
Stolen Credit Cards & Returned or Counterfeit
All types of fraud involving stolen credit cards, returned or counterfeit checks
Subscription Fraud Use of service with no intent to pay
Unauthorized abuse of access (e.g. Customer
Care System)
Unauthorized abuse of company's credit and adjustment policy
Voicemail Hacking Compromised Voicemail systems used to make calls
VoIP Hacking Compromised VoIP equipment such as an IP PBX or Modem used to make fraudulent calls
Wangiri Call-back fraud schemes
Fraud Type Description
Arbitrage Exploitation of the differences in rates between different countries
Cable or Satellite Signal theft or retransmission from a cable or satellite provider
Commissions Fraud Schemes used by dealers to collect additional commissions and spiffs
Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) An explicit attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to the users of a service
Domestic Revenue Share
Abuse of Carrier Interconnect agreements through such things as Traffic Pumping, Switch Access Stimulation,
8yy Dip Pumping & CNAM Revenue pumping schemes
Hardware Reselling Resold handsets or equipment
IMEI Reprogramming Changing the IMEI of a handset to hide the true origination or identity of a caller
Interconnect Bypass (e.g. SIM
Unauthorized insertion of traffic onto another carriers' network. This includes Interconnect Fraud and GSM
Gateway Fraud or SIM Boxing.
International Revenue Share
Fraud (IRSF)
Artificial inflation of traffic terminating to international revenue share providers
Payment Fraud Includes items such as charge-backs, returned checks, card holder not present, etc.
Premium Rate Service Artificial inflation of traffic terminating to premium service providers
Private Use Use of a service neither directly nor indirectly paid for without rendering some kind of financial compensation
Roaming Fraud All types of fraud and abuse involving roaming
Service Reselling (e.g: Call
Resale of stolen phone service to other people
Spamming Use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages
Theft / Compromise of data
(e.g. logins)
Includes such things as the acquisition of personal information or intellectual property
Theft / Stolen Goods Equipment Theft
Theft of Content Stealing content such as ringtones, games, or applications
Wholesale Fraud Exploitation of wholesale interconnect agreements