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Warning after fraudsters hack into telephone lines

Scammers have cost Northern Ireland businesses thousands of pounds after hacking into phone lines and making international and premium rate calls.


The criminals managed to run up a bill of over £10,000 by hacking the phone lines of businesses in the area. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is currently investigating the case.

Rainbow Communications, an independent business telecoms company say the scam, in which criminals break into phone lines remotely and rack up huge bills, is on the rise.

One Belfast firm lost £10,000 in just one weekend while one in North Down was scammed to the tune of £3,000.

David Beatty, Head of Systems and Data Sales at Rainbow Communications, said: “We are all too aware of the term ‘phone hacking’ in the media, but this type of phone hacking is a real and serious concern for businesses in Northern Ireland.

“Fraudsters are making thousands of international or premium rate calls resulting in substantial costs at the expense of the unsuspecting company. It is the business that is solely responsible for the fraudulent call charges so it really can have a detrimental effect on any firm in Northern Ireland.”

Rainbow Communications top five tips to protect your business:

  • Restrict the numbers that employees can dial and do not allow unnecessary calls to destinations such as international or premium rate numbers.
  • Restrict after hours, weekend and holiday calling.
  • Remove all unnecessary personnel who have remote access to your systems.
  • Review your call logging reports regularly to spot any increases in call volumes or calls to suspicious destinations.
  • Be vigilant against people posing as a company employee and asking to be connected to a switchboard operator to get an outgoing line.

For further information visit the Rainbow Communications website.

Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.

If you or your business have been targeted by phone hackers you can report to us and receive a police crime reference number, by calling on 0300 123 2040 or by using our online fraud reporting tool.

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