Telephone fraudster activity in Moray has prompted fresh warnings from police for vigilance.
Local companies in the region have become the targets for criminals who are hacking their telephone systems and making calls to premium rate numbers.
The latest fraudulent activity – known as ‘phreaking’ – has hit three businesses in the Elgin and Forres areas, costing the unidentified firms a high four-figure sum.
In the Forres incident the company discovered that their telephone system had been hacked only after they were presented with a bill of more than £4000 for calls racked up over the course of a single weekend.
‘Phreaking’ is made possible because many companies are now reducing their telephone bills by utilising internet-based systems rather than routing their calls through traditional telephone exchanges.
Kevin Marron, crime reduction officer for Police Scotland’s Aberdeenshire and Moray division, said: “This is a particularly despicable crime that has affected some business owners in the Moray region.
“However, it is not just a local problem, but a UK-wide problem and businesses need to be vigilant.
“Companies need to be aware that they should ensure their telephone systems are secure from this type of attack.
“These incidents are very difficult to investigate as the calls are routed through the internet and the hacking element can take place from anywhere in the world – the key here is prevention.
“This is such a specialist crime I would advise companies to contact their telephone provider to ascertain what assistance they can provide in order to ensure their telephone system remains secure.”
If anybody has any concerns regarding telephone fraud in their area they are asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.