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Toll fraud becomes top priority of associations.

Toll fraud and its prevention continue to get top billing (pun intended) among associations. If your association has not already scheduled seminars or workshops on the hottest topic since interconnect, then get after your program chairman, pronto!

In the last few months, all the major long-distance carriers have announced software and other services to help their customers in toll fraud detection and prevention. AT&T estimates $1.2 billion was lost to PBX fraud alone in 1991.

The hackers are concentrating on the most vulnerable switch--your PBX--since the technology of the IXC (interexchange carrier) switches has made the hackers' task of infiltration more difficult.

The underground market for valid access codes is lucrative and worth the hacker's effort since detection requires a planned and concentrated campaign on your part. Guess who absorbs the cost? You do...since it is your PBX.

Most associations are providing seminars and workshops to their members. In coming months, I will be sharing what is going on--the name of the game is sharing since no one has a corner on the market or an answer at this time. This issue will be one of the top agenda items among members of TAC (Telecomm Associations Council) at their upcoming annual meeting.

TCA's (Tele-Communications Association) Corporate Government Liaison Committee, chaired by Scoop Sairanen, is a part of TCA's regulatory affairs group under Lionel Gillerman. They publish, for their membership, a "Users Manual." Chapter XV, "Guidelines for Toll Fraud Prevention" is timely and helpful.

Among the hints on how to recognize toll fraud: increased inbound 800 traffic, increased outbound traffic to any numbers, 700, 800, 900 or direct-dial to domestic or international locations; SMDR reports indicating multiple attempts to enter invalid authorization codes; an excessive number of hang-ups or phantom calls; unidentifiable voice messages; high usuage at odd hours.

If fraud occurs, contact your long-distance carrier. Also contact your equipment vendor who may be able to restrict PBX trunks associated with the remote access feature.

I've only scratched the surface of TCA's report. To get a copy, send $45 to defray costs of producing the manual to TCA Corporate Offices, 858 South Oak Park Road, Covina CA 91724, or call 818-967-9411.


In CICA's (Chicago Industrial Communication Assn.) house organ, "Communicator," MCI's Al Knable (past president of CICA) refers to the criminal elements involved with fraud as "dirtbags" after he saw actual videos of street corner operations selling international access codes.

Adding to the lists already mentioned above, be sure to restrict lobby and common-area phones to internal, local seven-digit and 911/emergency only. (And don't forget the elevator phone...I have to admit that I always try it--when no one is around.)

At the monthly meeting of the San Francisco TCA, MCI showed up as part of their fraud awareness and prevention program, with Wanda Gamble-Braggs giving the presentation. The problem of telecomm fraud, the group said, is pernicious. Contrary to popular opinion, it is not simply a matter of juvenile delinquency. In many urban areas, organized criminal elements establish call-sell operations in which domestic and international long-distance calls are sold to the public using stolen phone authorization codes.

Do we need Interop?

There has been great progress in trying to avoid conflicting schedules of annual meetings amongst the many user groups.

What appeared to be just rumor and hearsay has turned out to be fact--Interop has decided, so it appears, to go head-to-head against the association community by scheduling their expositions the same time as annual conferences of several member associations.

I'm not as gracious as Bob Hamilton, TCA corporate chairman, who in a recent interview said, "I wish Interop well. But I believe if you have something that people really value, as we do, they aren't going to change. It's hard to beat a good thing."

And I agree with him. We do have a good thing going for the association community especially when you consider that several million dollars taken from sale of booth space has gone directly to education of the membership and toward seeding telecomm programs at colleges around the world. Don't forget who fights the regulatory battles at the federal and state levels for you.

I challenge Interop to match these activities and causes...better yet, match with dollars.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:On Associations; detection and prevention of telephone toll fraud
Author:Underwood, Roger
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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