The hottest technology on the market today for business and personal use is coming straight out of the VoIP and virtual phone sectors. VoIP technology lets you call from anywhere using a cell phone, computer, tablet, a VoIP phone or other data-driven device from the same number.
Let’s look at what a VoIP number is and how you can get one. We’ll also discuss how to get VoIP services started and five VoIP fraud alerts that will protect your business. A VoIP number can also save you a ton of money that conventional landlines can’t.
- What Is a Voice Over IP Phone Number?
- How Does VoIP Work?
- How Do I Get a VoIP Number?
- Why Should I Get a VoIP Number?
- How to Protect Against VoIP Fraud
What Is a Voice Over IP Phone Number?
A VoIP number (also known as Voice over IP or virtual phone number) is a real telephone number that gets assigned to a user, but not to a specific phone line. Throughout the technology industry, virtual phone numbers get referred to as access numbers or direct inward dialing.
How Does VoIP Work?
VoIP works by using the Internet to place calls. Unlike traditional phone service, where the call gets routed through a phone line, your service travels over the Internet. With this method, VoIP routes a call along the most efficient paths possible.
VoIP also extends to other forms of communication, like chat and text messaging. A business owner can build a company communication system or an individual can use it for personal calls. With VoIP phones, a traditional phone line becomes obsolete for both business and residential use.
The Difference Between VoIP and Regular Phone Numbers
Also, the underlying technologies are dramatically different. A standard landline number travels through copper phone lines. A VoIP number utilizes data networks, such as the internet and internal enterprise LANs (Local Area Networks) to make calls.
How Do I Get a VoIP Number?
To get a VoIP number, turn to a provider. A VoIP phone service provider helps you get a VoIP number when you sign up for a VoIP service plan. Some plans are less expensive than cell phone or regular telephone service. Therefore, you reduce your communication costs while having access to more functionality and features.
How to Get VoIP Phone Service
If it’s time to switch over and get VoIP phone service, there are six steps you’ll need to take to set up VoIP phone service. First, you must check and make sure you have a good internet connection.
You’ll then need to choose the type of VoIP subscription that suits your situation and needs, then select a VoIP service. After that, you’ll purchase your VoIP equipment. Then you’ll contact a provider to get a VoIP phone number and finally, set up your VoIP system.
Why Should I Get a VoIP Number?
A VoIP phone system brings several advantages that conventional phone services cannot provide. With these benefits, you’ll find savings, enjoy accessibility, discover flexibility, and most of all, calls will be crystal clear.
Without the use of a phone line, VoIP numbers utilize your internet connection. Even with the initial VoIP phone system setup and with monthly installments, the expense is less than maintaining a traditional phone system. That reduces it down to one account for both internet and phone.
A VoIP phone system does not rely on distance or location to make calls. Its convenience comes from a stable internet connection. This makes communication possible across the country or halfway around the world. Just sign into your broadband account from any device and you are ready to communicate.
A VoIP network has a vast amount of flexibility. When using a private, internal phone network, adding multiple phones to an existing system is limited. With a VoIP network, you are only limited by your bandwidth, which can be increased, allowing thousands of possible connections.
Another way VoIP phones are flexible is their ability to operate with any device. They’ll work with computers, tablets and VoIP phones. Your PC headset, PC handset and traditional telephone set can also be used with the installation of an ATA device (analog telephone adapter).
This device allows for an existing telephone system to transition over to a VoIP phone system without purchasing new equipment right away.
With a strong and stable internet connection and high bandwidth, voice quality would be equal or close to a traditional phone connection. However, in a rural area without a stable Internet connection, your conditions may suffer.
The use of multiple devices on a single virtual number is probably one of the best benefits for businesses. With the VoIP number assigned to a person, not a location, they can take that number anywhere and access their account from any device.
Once they’ve logged in, they can use a personal or company laptop, computer or cell phone that is VoIP compatible to make calls. These virtual numbers can also be set to forward calls to different telephone numbers if the user chooses. The ability to use multiple devices with one telephone number gives the user the ultimate flexibility.
Area Code Choice
Unlike conventional phones, you can choose an area code for your VoIP phone number that is not in the same city or town you work or live. This feature allows an individual or business owner to make calls to an area code of their choosing and not get charged for a long-distance call.
This also means that a business owner can assign themselves a local number in order to establish credibility. This can be helpful for businesses who have more than one location. It can also be helpful for those who would like several local numbers to route to one location.
However, if the area code that is assigned to the phone is for one specific city, like Los Angeles, but the VoIP phone is in New York, then every call made across New York or any other city other than L.A. is subject to long-distance charges.
Phones are no longer immobile. In the past, if you moved, the telephone company got called to update the new number at the new location. Most of the time, a service technician had to come out to set up the new phones.
However, VoIP number portability is another option, saving any business owner unnecessary downtime. Regardless of the location, the VoIP phone can still use the same phone number. All that is needed is reliable IP connectivity.
Number portability means there is no need to change the phone number if a business chooses to use VoIP service. There is no need to make changes to the website, business cards or marketing materials. Simply carry over the old number and continue operating as usual!
Toll-free calling is no longer just for large enterprises. Small and medium-sized businesses can now receive toll-free calls with the use of VoIP numbers. While it varies from provider to provider, most will provide either free or very inexpensive toll-free calling.
Toll-free calling can help a business by eliminating the appearance that they are limited to one geographic area. Best of all, since you are able to have multiple VoIP numbers ring on multiple devices, these toll-free calls can be routed to your personal phone or computer.
How to Protect Against VoIP Fraud
Even though VoIP technology is easy to use and inexpensive to maintain, this modern-day business phone solution is not immune to defrauding a user. The problem with these kinds of VoIP number frauds is the difficulty in tracing the call. If you do not know what to look for or expect from a VoIP scammer, you too may become a victim of VoIP fraud.
VoIP Phones Vulnerabilities
As VoIP becomes more popular around the world, fraud and security issues continue to rise. VoIP phone systems, though easy to use, have their share of vulnerabilities.
- Hacking attempts
- Data-driven attacks
- Fraudulent schemes
- System vulnerabilities
If you’re aware of the security landscape in which VoIP operates, you won’t make the mistake of thinking that VoIP phones don’t need security.
Vishing (VoIP Phishing)
If you’ve never heard of Vishing (voice or VoIP phishing), it is a VoIP phone scam. The fraud begins with the appearance of a real caller ID displayed with a valid telephone number from a recognized and trusted source. Then the scammer attempts to convince the unsuspecting individual to disclose critical personal data and financial information.
Often, the callers will prey on two key factors to gain the information they need: a person’s fear and financial stability. Due to people trusting the caller ID and believing the phone service to be genuine, spoofed phone numbers can be used to trick the fraud victim.
Understanding Hosted and Whitelist VoIP Phone Scams
Scammers use a variety of techniques that make calls at your expense or acquire your sensitive information without your knowledge. Two common Vishing scams are:
Hosted – Hackers will attempt to break into a network of a hosted service provider, taking advantage of low security or the use of default passwords. The key to preventing this attack is changing passwords every 30 days and reviewing security processes and protocols.
Whitelist – A feature with your VoIP phone is whitelisting phone numbers. Those numbers are allowed to call in or make outbound calls. Hackers will gain access to your VoIP account and place their IP on your whitelist, thereby allowing them to make calls at your expense. You can learn how to prevent this here.
How to Protect Yourself From VoIP Fraud Attacks
VoIP phone fraud attacks are sophisticated, which makes it challenging to recognize legitimate calls and attempts at theft. Below are a few tips you can develop to protect yourself from these intrusions:
- Never assume every call comes with good intentions and stay up to date on the latest scams
- Don’t give your confidential information over the phone unless you initiate the call
- Cybersecurity experts suggest changing your login details for all devices once a month
- Never call phone numbers from unsolicited emails sent to you
- If there is any doubt who is calling, let the caller leave a message at your voicemail
Although VoIP phone fraud can happen at any moment, there are steps you can take to protect your personal data and financial information. If used properly, VoIP phones will make your business or private communications easy, inexpensive and convenient.
VoIP phones and, in turn, VoIP phone numbers have many benefits. From their flexibility to their accessibility, VoIP numbers are a perfect addition to any business communication setup.
Remember, in order to align yourself with the best and most secure VoIP service you must do your research. Reading customer reviews can be an excellent indicator of service quality. Don’t take our word for it, see what Nextiva customers have to say!