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The broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, RTR, registered about 3,900 complaints of “phone spoofing” in July alone, and Europol also warned of a wave of fake calls over the summer. Markus Buchner, CEO of yutel, gives tips to protect yourself. […]

Markus Buchner, yutel general manager. (c) Daniel Bointner/yuutel

Has anyone recently reported a “wine investigation” or “Austrian police” on your company’s cell phone? Or has an unknown foreign number only been called once? Then you’re one of approximately 3,900 cases of phone number misuse reported to the broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory agency, RTR – not even counting the number of unreported cases in July alone. What can companies do to protect themselves and their employees from these “robocalls” and “phone spoofing”?

Some scams are just annoying, but others can wreak havoc in businesses too – through increased phone charges or the disclosure of sensitive data. The most common trick at the moment is fake “Austrian Police Department” calls to get critical information about the person or company. With this “phone spoofing”, fraudsters pose as employees of various police organizations or ministries. More than 2,500 reported calls were made in July alone, and Europol also warned against this wave of fake calls over the summer.

Another 700 complaints related to call requests, the so-called “ping calls”: such machine-generated calls (“robocalls”) are intended to entice the called party to call the number back with a single ring on the mobile phone from the company or a blank voicemail message. Expensive call destinations or expensive waiting loops then wait on the other side.

Man as the greatest weakness

While most companies take cybersecurity very seriously, business telephony security is often neglected. That can take revenge. What these phone scammers have in common is that they exploit people as the biggest weakness in the security network. The good news first: if you just hang up on spoofing calls like the fake police, nothing bad can happen — as long as you don’t disclose sensitive data beforehand. It becomes critical when many employees call back “ping calls” because they suspect foreign business partners or customers are behind them. This unintentionally drives up telephone costs.

Awareness and clear rules of conduct for prevention

To prevent such sensitive additional costs and data loss in advance, companies should regularly raise awareness among their staff about potential risks and implement appropriate rules of conduct. Calls from foreign phone numbers can be quickly checked with a simple Google search. If a list of country codes is also included, you can see at a glance which country the missed call comes from. If you are not sure, you should avoid calling back unknown international numbers. If it does happen: immediately end the call back and report to the company to limit the damage and have this number blocked. The claim call must also be sent to the . to be Registration Office for telephone number abuse of the RTR displayed to warn others about scams.

Customize incoming and outgoing block lists

However, there can be no complete protection against this type of phone fraud, no matter how well-sensitized. In addition to the human factor, it is therefore advisable to technically set up the telephone system in such a way that it receives the information reported to RTR. suspicious phone number ranges recognizes. Modern Voice-over-IP solutions offer additional possibilities: Potential callers can be blocked by means of an “inbound blacklist” and regular updates. For example, if you do not have suppliers, business partners or customers in Asian countries, you can put these destinations on the incoming call block list. An “outgoing blacklist” can be established to protect you from expensive premium rate numbers. This outgoing call block list prevents employees from accidentally calling or forwarding calls to expensive premium rate numbers.

Manage business telephony better with call profiles

Paid services behind value-added numbers don’t necessarily have to be demonized, but sometimes necessary and useful – a good example is technical support hotlines. In order to be able to call selected payment services, they must be placed on a so-called “VIP list”. The best way to manage business telephony is to create call profiles for individual team members, departments, or entire locations. With this you can – depending on the employee – release the destination numbers that are actually required for business and block various unwanted calling destinations or cost-intensive premium rate numbers.

With a few simple precautions, the security of business telephony can be quickly increased and the telecommunication budget well protected – and it certainly pays off.

*The author Markus Buchner is the director of yutel.

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