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Combating fraud in the telecommunications industry: a call for collaboration

Nowadays, a world in which trusting who is on the other end of a call or text seems more like a far-out dream. In 2023 alone, the telecommunications industry lost an estimated $38.95 billion to fraud, a 12% increase since 2021. It’s not the networks that are causing the fraud, but instead the networks are being infiltrated by fraudsters. On the rise over the past decade, these criminals are abusing and misusing the networks – from international calls and email to SMS phishing, to subscription fraud and account takeover, it’s not surprising that tackling this fraud can seem overwhelming. 

At the recent Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) Spring Educational Event in Pittsburgh, PA, stakeholders from Communications Service Providers (CSPs), regulators, financial services companies, industry associations and law enforcement agencies gathered to address this pressing issue. It’s clear that fraudsters are becoming so skilled that the thought of addressing this alone no longer seems realistic. So, what can legitimate businesses do to help combat these criminals? 

Collaborate. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work, right? 

As one of the main themes that emerged from the CFCA event in April, collaboration feels like the only way the industry can start to outsmart the fraudsters. Throughout the show, a variety of real-world incidents were discussed. Panelists and speakers alike shared stories about how fraudsters have gotten so smart, that banks, for example, are turning to other banks (their own competitors!) to work together and share their data with each other to try and build a unified front and stop this fraudulent activity. As the ecosystem continues to evolve, it’s evident that industry alliances will be the key to restoring consumer trust and ensuring a secure telecommunications environment for all. 

By working together and looking to fight this fraud in tandem, stakeholders in the industry can leverage their unique perspectives, resources and data to develop more effective strategies and fraud management systems to remain one-step ahead of the bad actors.