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Traffic Pumping: Putting a Stop to Phone Fraud
November 3rd, 2016

Traffic Pumping: Putting a Stop to Phone Fraud

Hailee Franco

Recently we discussed a dangerous form of phone fraud that affects individuals, phone providers, and companies. This fraud, called traffic pumping, happens when an individual makes a long distance pho...

Recently we discussed a dangerous form of phone fraud that affects individuals, phone providers, and companies. This fraud, called traffic pumping, happens when an individual makes a long distance phone call. This call is transferred from one local carrier to another via a long distance provider. When it is transferred to the recipient the long distance provider pays a service fee to get the call connected.

Where the fraud comes into play is when a carrier makes an agreement with a company that has a high call volume. These companies, like free conferencing calling services, then route all their traffic to that carrier. The long distance provider pays the carrier who then gives the company providing the traffic a percentage of the fee. These charges often are so large that the FCC finds them unlawful or fraudulent.

This fraud affects the long distance companies and their customers because higher service fees mean they have to charge their customers more. It also can affect businesses that pay for long distance calls. Spammers can robo-call the company’s phone and if connected, rack up thousands of dollars in charges.

Learn more about who traffic pumping affects in part one of our series, “Traffic Pumping: What is it and who does it affect.

Putting a stop to phone fraud

The biggest problem with traffic pumping is that long distance providers have little power to stop it from happening. This means it is up to the individuals and companies affected to take steps to lessen their risk.

Educate your employees

Knowing what to look for can help stop traffic pumping before it has major effects on a business. Signs employees should look for include:

  • Calls with dead air, meaning no one answers on the other side.
  • Calls where music or other sounds repeat multiple times.
  • A large increase in monthly charges.
  • High call volume occurring after business hours.

Use an auto attendant or IVR

Robo-callers make fraudulent calls meaning there is no one on the other end. When they hit an auto attendant or IVR, they have no way to get the call connected. This stops many fraudulent calls right in their tracks and helps prevent businesses from losing money.

File a complaint

Businesses who believe they are a victim of traffic pumping should file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. There are two types of complaints, informal and formal. An informal complaint is free and does not require legal proceedings to occur. While informal, the FCC still reviews all these complaints and looks at them seriously.

Formal complaints cost $200 to file and may end in the two parties needing to appear before the FCC. If you are currently a victim of traffic pumping file a complaint with the FCC online.

Traffic pumping has the power to negatively affect not only long distance providers but their consumers. This fraud can cost companies thousands of dollars in charges or in higher call rates from their long distance provider.

While it isn’t easy to prevent traffic pumping, taking steps to educate employees, set an auto attendant, and file a complaint can help. Make sure your company is doing everything it can to put a stop to this dangerous phone fraud.


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