Safety In Numbers Can Cut Fraud Risk

Business, Technology
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Speaking as a keynote at the CFCA’s annual conference in Chicago, iconectiv’s CTO Chris Drake told delegates that there is safety in numbers in the battle against telecom fraudsters.

The Communications Fraud Control Association’s (CFCA) conference saw leading telecoms security professionals meet in Chicago to discuss industry trends as well as learn about new threats and potential solutions.

Drake told the conference attendees that fraudsters are very creative and constantly innovating. Enterprises were the new target of an old “consumer ring-once” fraud known as Wangiri.  The Wangiri fraud typically involves calling a consumer and terminating the call after the initial ring.  Consumers who call back the missed-call number do not realize they are being charged a premium rate and quickly rack up a profit for the fraudsters.

Today, Drake said, fraudsters were contacting customer contact centers that typically had long wait times, because many of those centers now offered consumers a ring back option to avoid the long wait on hold.

“The fraudsters key their premium rate number into the contact center system,” he said “and then wait for the call back. They simply keep the enterprise or their contact center on the line for as long as possible and generate a big charge. To make matters worse, that charge may not come to attention of the management team until many weeks or even months after the fraud has occurred or may even be lost completely in a huge quarterly phone bill.”

The CFCA’s own figures put service provider losses to revenue share fraud at over $6bn annually and Drake pointed out that this exploit pulls all industry sectors into the ranks of victims from the fraudsters’ activities.

Service providers, consumers, and enterprises are all targets he told the conference and exploiting Wangiri with contact centers offering automated call back has an even better chance of success than it has with consumers.  The solution, Drake said, was in the numbers.  Much of the fraud involved the misuse of numbers and a thorough knowledge of numbering plans and a community of action could address many of the issues.

Service providers can protect against incoming call fraud by blocking unallocated numbers, targeting special numbers, treating some number ranges with caution – and there were tools that enabled enterprises to do the same when it came to outgoing calls he explained.

“New technologies and new services actually also mean new opportunities for fraudsters who are often very quick to exploit any weaknesses,” he warned.  “Fighting fraud is an industry-wide responsibility, and we need to work harder to protect consumers, businesses and the supply chain in between.”

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