POLICE are warning businesses to be vigilant against telephone fraud following a number of incidents in Moray in recent weeks.
Several companies have been targeted by fraudsters who hack into business phone systems and make calls to premium rate numbers with no intention of paying the bill.
According to Police Scotland, this type of fraud – known as ‘phreaking’ – has occurred at three separate business premises in the Elgin and Forres areas. It has cost the businesses a high four-figure sum of money.
In one incident in Forres, a company discovered their phones had been hacked after they were left with a bill of more than £4,000. This was racked-up over the course of a weekend.
Local crime reduction officer, Kevin Marron, 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 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."
Anyone who has concerns about telephone fraud in their area is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if wishing to remain anonymous.