LANCASHIRE businesses are being warned not to fall foul of a telephone scam which could cost them thousands of pounds.

Abbey Telecom chief Tony Raynor has voiced his concerns that many companies are not being advised to take the necessary precautions to prevent hackers breaking into their telephone systems and to protect themselves against fraud.

Victims of ‘dial through fraud’ often face big financial losses when they find out too late someone has taken control of their phone lines to make money or steal free calls.

“Businesses in this country are losing £1.2bn per year to what is termed ‘dial through fraud’ on their phone systems,” said telephone installer Mr Raynor.

“It happens when fraudsters access a telephone switchboard and call costly premium rate or overseas destinations. Yet firms can fight this crime, protect themselves against such attacks and even recoup money.”

This type of fraud often occurs as a result of unsecure voicemail accounts or because the telephone system wasn’t set up by qualified engineers.