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Press Release

Industry Leaders Discuss New Strategies to Protect Consumers against Telephone Fraud

February 12, 2019

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – February 12, 2019: Strategies and insights to combat the continuing rise of telecom fraud will be the topic of discussion for delegates convening at a specialist summit in San Francisco on February 21, 2019. Among the expert speakers, will be Chris Drake, CTO, iconectiv who will provide details on a new twist on an old fraud technique that is quickly escalating losses for service providers, call centers and enterprises.

With the cost of telecom fraud continuing to rise and international subscription revenue fraud (IRSF) growing six-fold in the last five years, it is becoming increasingly critical for industry stakeholders to understand the latest fraud techniques and the significant damage it is causing to their brand’s reputation and customer satisfaction levels.

“Fraudsters are tech savvy and very quick to adapt their techniques to take advantage of new practices that they can exploit for commercial gain,” says Drake. “Word spreads fast in that community when a new vulnerability is exploited and we need to be just as fast and just as savvy. That means the industry must pool knowledge and share insights in order to work together more effectively and stay on top of the latest trends.”

As an example, Drake will highlight how an old fraud technique known as “Wangiri”— ring once, hang up and wait for the call back—is now being re-purposed to target customer contact centers. 

“Modern, busy call centers proactively offer callers the option to leave their number for a call back. In fact, it’s seen as best practice,” Drake says. “But fraudsters exploit this to trigger call backs to premium rate numbers. What makes it worse,” he explains, “is that the initial call back is often from an automated system using keypad responses to qualify the nature of the inquiry. Fraudsters take advantage of this to extend the length of the call and increase their return.”

Drake will also point out that the costs of the call and the evidence that it happened is often lost within a large monthly or quarterly bill. “It’s bad enough this fraud can happen,” he says, “it’s even worse that it can pass undetected.”

The discussion will provide strategies and solutions centered on acquiring a better understanding of telephone numbers and numbering systems that can be applied to combat telecoms fraud.

“Technology can help here,” Drake explains. “It can help service providers and enterprises enhance their ability to identify and block unallocated numbers, treat specified number ranges with caution, flag known premium rate numbers and put filters into the system so that the call back numbers are always checked before calling.” 

During his presentation, Drake will discuss how outsmarting the fraudsters is an opportunity for the industry to work together. And, with the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) putting the annual cost of international revenue share fraud at some $6bn, it is a battle the industry needs to win. 

The summit, organized by the Messaging Malware Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG), looks to combat abuse and fraud of networks and mobile messaging systems.