Fraud is a $17 billion dollar problem plaguing the telecoms industry, as highlighted in a recent industry report, Taking Action Against Fraud: Demonstrating the international wholesale industry’s leadership against telecoms fraud. Published by the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF), of which BICS is a member, the report highlights the impact of fraud on the telecoms industry, the diversity and changing nature of fraud methods, and the action that can be taken to best tackle the problem.
As the industry focuses on how to address this challenge, Katia Gonzalez, Head of Fraud Operations at BICS, took part in a panel session at Capacity Europe in London, where she discussed BICS’ outlook on building a fraud free future. She was joined on stage by Jussi Makela, Director of ITW Global Leaders’ Forum; Steven Parrott, Vice President, Product Management at Telarix; and Stephen Ornadel, VP, Strategy and Product Management at Mobileum.
GLF, in partnership with the i3fourm, has already launched a Code of Conduct aimed at reducing fraud in the international wholesale market.. The Code of Conduct currently has 27 signees, which is fantastic, but also shows that there’s more to do to encourage wider industry participation – something BICS is committed to.
A global, collaborative approach is crucial: everyone, from mobile operators to carriers to vendors must work together and adhere to a common set of goals and guidelines, to solve the problem of telecom fraud.
The recent fraud reports add to these efforts and, Daniel Kurgan, BICS’ CEO and Chair of the GLF Fraud Working Group, commented that it ‘marks the launch of what I hope will be an annual milestone in our industry to assess our progress in reducing the impact of fraudulent traffic and serve as a catalyst for future action.’
A global response to a global problem
Telecoms fraud is a global problem, and as such, the problem necessitates a global response, and global action. Today, we make and receive calls and SMS from friends, family and companies across the world. Fraud can originate anywhere, and target any party in the telecoms industry – no one is immune.
Over the course of the last year, carriers surveyed as part of the report highlighted missed call campaigns and private branch exchange (PBX) hacking as having increased significantly. However, trends in telecoms fraud are ever-changing, meaning the industry must keep a constant and close eye on all possible methods of fraud.
As its name suggests, GLF represents a network of leaders from the largest wholesale carriers from across the globe. In addition to its active contribution to industry bodies, BICS also offers a range of solutions which support its collaborative, multi-network approach for effective prevention against fraud.
Pro-active not reactive
These solutions allow industry parties to gain comprehensive visibility of their network traffic, allowing them to identify fraudulent attacks, and address these promptly. More importantly, parties can then work together to share this knowledge with the aim of reducing telecoms fraud across the entire industry.
Approaches must be global and collaborative, and they must also be pro-active rather than reactive. Fortunately, there does seem to be widespread recognition of this, with 85% of carriers citing fraud as a priority for their organisation, and 74% saying it’s growing in importance, according to the report.
BICS’ anti-fraud solutions are enabling operators to spot and stop cyber crime and telecoms fraud before they hit their business and cause significant financial and reputational damage. FraudGuard analyses global traffic patterns in near real time, and continuous input and feedback from users means that the solution can ‘learn’ about new and emerging fraud threats. This approach can help the industry stay one step ahead of the fraudsters and protect precious revenues. In fact, our customers saved an estimated €1.5 billion last year thanks to our anti-fraud solutions.
Technology is the future of fighting fraud
Technology is a crucial part of the fight against fraud; an outlook shared by the industry at large. According to the report, machine leaning and the use of blockchain-based solutions were cited by many carriers as areas of investment going forward. Interestingly, blockchain was also pinpointed by Daniel as a key telecoms trend for 2019, during the recent BICS CEO media tour. We’ll continue to trial AI and other new technologies, and in the meantime, anti-fraud solutions on the market today should be a key weapon which in any operators’ armoury.
“No telco can become the policeman of the whole world,” commented Daniel recently. But, working together, with the right tools and a collaborative, cooperative attitude, we can work together to effectively police global telecoms fraud.