Fraud Prompts UK Phone Firms to Modify Networks

Rising fraud has prompted phone operators to tweak their networks in order to remove features exploited by criminals.

Fraudsters are currently abusing a call clearing system that keeps a line open even if the person being called has hung up.

The system was first introduced to make it easy to transfer calls to extensions in homes; however, high tech thieves are abusing the system in order to trick people into thinking they are talking to a bank.

A conman trying to abuse this feature would call a victim pretending to be from their bank, ISP or even the Police, informing them of an issue that requires them to supply their credit card details. The conman would then pass the caller onto another line, where they will be connected to the fraudster before the call clearing deadline has passed.

BT, Sky and Virgin Media have all outlined plans to cut call clearing times from minutes to seconds in order to prevent thieves in the future.

BT explained: "We intend to cut the 'holding the line open' time to two seconds and we will have a solution in place to do this for several million customers over the next six weeks.

"We need to do some further testing for the remaining lines and will resolve this issue for those customers as soon as possible."

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