The Jersey Fraud Prevention Forum (JFPF) is warning Islanders to be aware of who is calling them this Christmas as it could well be a fraudster.
Telecommunications providers JT and Sure, both active members of the JFPF, are raising awareness about Wangiri Fraud. This is when fraudsters call your number but only ring once before hanging up in the hope that you return the call. The number you call back will generally be premium rate (09*), non-geographic ranges (084*, 087*) or international destinations, which all carry a high charge per minute.
JT and Sure have a clear message for local residents; if you do not recognise the number, do not call back and make sure you report the suspect caller.
Kathryn Garland, JT Fraud & Revenue Assurance Manager, commented:
“If you feel you have received a suspicious phone call please contact your provider with the date and time of the call, your telephone number and the number which called you. If this information is supplied to your provider they will endeavour to trace the call and block the originator if appropriate. You can also inform the JFPF by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org”
The telecommunications agencies are also warning Jersey businesses to safeguard their internal telephone systems over the Christmas period as Private Branch Exchange (PABX) Hacking is a very real risk.
Most, if not all, corporate organisations in the Island will use PABX, in-house telephone systems, and fraudsters know that Christmas is a prime time to strike. Systems will generally be left with default or weak passwords which scammers can easily access to set up call forwarding to premium rates services and international destinations.
Marco Cassiano, Fraud and Revenue Assurance Analyst at Sure, commented:
“In 2016 we saw six attacks of this nature on Guernsey businesses. We recommend that local companies check their telephone system(s) to make sure that system and voicemail lines have robust passwords in place to mitigate against this threat.”
Both providers are also reminding Islanders to get in contact if they lose or have their mobile phones stolen while on holiday this festive season. If customers do not restrict their accounts and they remain active, fraudsters can gain access and subsequently generate high volumes of calls, which could cost the account holders vast sums of money.