According to a study by the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA), service providers globally lost an estimated $29.2 billion to fraud in 2017. The evolution of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have presented the industry with key tools for preventing fraudulent activity. Yet these technologies can also be wielded by criminals, creating an arms race between the two parties. So, what can be done to protect operator revenues, and the personal data of subscribers?
A significant proportion of operators now offer subscribers unlimited tariffs on domestic voice and SMS services as standard. As such, there’s little money to be made in domestic traffic fraud. The result? Criminals have turned to international-based fraud to guarantee returns on their (illegal) activities.
BICS has a strong heritage in fraud prevention, with years of experience in the telecoms industry, and having witnessed the shift from traditional to digital infrastructures. With our global network and provision of mobile data services worldwide, we’ve established a keen understanding of international network traffic. When it comes to fraud prevention, this knowledge is invaluable, as roughly 70% of losses from fraudulent activity originate from international traffic.
Despite our knowledge, detecting fraudulent activity in this space – as opposed to domestic traffic – does have its challenges. In many cases, operators can monitor and identify suspicious activity based on what they know about their subscribers and their understanding of ‘regular’ user behaviour on their network. Any deviation from the norm can be flagged – yet this is not the case with wholesale telecoms.
Wholesale traffic is dynamic and unpredictable by nature – and thus changes are not always the result of fraud. We’ve worked to circumvent this issue by developing fraud prevention solutions and taking a pro-active, collaborative approach. This proactive approach reduces the time and cost required to react to fraud attempts, protecting operators’ networks, subscribers, and reputation. Since its launch in 2013, FraudGuard has blocked over 600 million fraudulent call attempts and saved around €2 billion in wholesale exposure for its customers.
Operators and carriers are often (understandably) cagey about admitting that they’ve been hit by fraud. Yet sharing knowledge and resources is a key tactic in overcoming this problem – and is at the heart of our solution for fighting telecoms fraud. Traffic is analysed across our network in near-real time and presents users with details of suspicious activity, as well as offering them the opportunity to contribute their own findings. This equips a greater number of industry players with a more comprehensive knowledge of fraudulent activity and enables them to act faster to spot potential issues in the future – including new and emerging tactics.
As well as being far faster than human data analytics, these platforms reduce false positives, which ordinarily entail a lot of wasted time and effort to investigate.
Our partnership with TeleSign – which was finalised last year – has enabled us to further expand our fraud prevention capabilities. We’re now able to offer digital identification verification, supporting the growing number of digital service providers and pro-actively informing them of possible fraud.