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The Company You Keep: How Omnichannel Verification Protects Your Brand, Buyers and Bottom Line

October 22, 2020

Between voice calls, text messages and chatbots, businesses have more opportunities than ever to interact with consumers. The catch? Fraudsters also now have more opportunities to interact with consumers – and in ways that hurt the brand and bottom line of legitimate businesses, and unfortunately the pocketbook of unsuspecting victims.

The underlying problem is self-attestation. Historically, businesses could simply identify themselves to communications service providers (CSPs) and establish a means of payment in order to get onto the networks and reach consumers. CSPs trusted that those businesses were what they claimed to be.

Cracks in the self-attestation model began when fraudsters realized they could simply impersonate another organization, be that a bank, airline, utility company, consumer brand or government agency. This allowed them to gain access to communications networks and perpetuate the fraudulent activities consumers are experiencing today, including smishing, illegal robocalls, spoofing and a myriad of other scams.

The good news is that the industry is working collaboratively to eradicate these fraudulent attacks on consumers not only by keeping the bad actors out but also by preventing a handful of messaging aggregators who are allowing the delivery of suspect and fraudulent traffic. Thanks to these collaborative efforts and working with industry associations, such as the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), these messaging aggregators are being identified with a concerted effort on having them clean up their business practices or risk being blocked by the CSPs.

These efforts will go a long way toward protecting their brand reputation, bottom line and consumers, as well as those of their business and government clients. iconectiv TruReach Intel is a powerful alternative to self-attestation that will be the subject of a future blog.

This higher level of protection is essential in today’s omni-channel environment in order to help ensure consumer trust across all major B2C communication channels: voice, SMS and RCS Business Messaging chatbots.

Specific to RCS, it is worth noting that the GSMA developed the specifications to be secure by design. A strong acknowledgement of the need to avoid the security vulnerabilities in other messaging options that have allowed fraudsters to target consumers, illegally garnering billions in financial gains each year. RCS Business Messaging enables a brand’s chatbot to convey authenticity to consumers in order to establish trust when engaging with them.

Of course, there is too much at stake for the fraudsters to simply give up. As they realize self-attestation is no longer possible, they will seek means to compromise any future process that establishes trust. As a thought leader in advising the communications industry, iconectiv is involved in evolving the standards to scale to hundreds of thousands of participating brands while protecting the integrity of the mechanism that conveys this trust.  Together, the industry ecosystem should work to deter and prevent fraudsters from launching new approaches to impersonating legitimate businesses.