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Tag Archives: Fraud

What is Wangiri Fraud and how does it impact telecom operators?

Wangiri fraud, a callback scam dates has its origin to the Japanese word which means “one ring and cut”. Telecom operators are facing this for over a decade now and this is only growing exponentially year on year around the globe. In Wangiri, a fraudster gives a missed call to several victim’s phone numbers of different countries from an international or unusual number. To the user, the CLI (caller number ID) is modified in such a way that it looks like a genuine call and when the victim calls back, it turns out to be a premium rate service (PRS) number owned by fraudster for which the victim is charged heavily for the calls. The fraudster intends to keep the victim on hold to increase the billed amount. The premium rate service provider pays the fraudster a certain share of the call revenue for each minute of call received by the premium rate number.

As per the CFCA 2019 fraud loss survey report, Wangiri is one of the top 5 fraud methods used by fraudsters to carry out fraudulent activities. It is also estimated that telcos are losing close to USD 1.82 billion globally to this fraud.

FIGURE 1.1: Wangiri Fraud

Impact of Wangiri fraud on telecom operators

Telcos incur both direct and in-direct loss due to Wangiri Fraud. Wangiri impacts the customers adversely resulting in customer churn due to high customer dissatisfaction from bill shocks and bad customer experience. It also has a negative impact on the operator brand image as subscribers would complain about the high call rates charged to them without them being aware of it. There is also an impact on the cost due to the increase in customer management.

Why Wangiri cannot be eliminated?

The two main reasons due to which Wangiri cannot be eliminated but can be managed are:

  • There is no regulation defined on the carrier business causing the fraudster to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the carrier network.
  • The lack of visibility on the end carrier who is terminating the call is another reason why Wangiri can’t be eliminated.

The end carrier who terminates a fraudulent missed call is not aware of the fraudster details and the country from which call has originated is a high-risk destination or not. Better awareness at the carrier level can significantly decrease many Wangiri cases.

As is clear from the statistics, Wangiri is eating a good chunk of the overall telecom revenues globally and needs to be addressed by the operator. Here is an interesting blog which talks about 8 simple strategies for telcos to combat Wangiri fraud. We conclude that Wangiri fraud cannot be eliminated, but its adverse impact of direct and indirect losses to the operator can be minimized to a large extent by having a robust fraud management system that can monitor the calls at source and tear down the calls in real-time.

A tier-1 Middle East based telecom operator leveraged Subex’s ROC Fraud Management’s signaling intelligence to detect and prevent Wangiri frauds.

Read the case study now!

SIM SWAP FRAUD: Stepping into the fraudster’s shoes!

“Lose a credit card and the loss may be in thousands… Lose a SIM Card, the loss is irreparable”

Last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey became the latest high-profile account to be targeted by SIM swappers. Dorsey’s account sent several tweets, including some with racial slurs and others that defended Nazi Germany. Luckily for him, his account was secured soon after, and the consequences weren’t catastrophic. However, there have been many instances where SIM swappers have left victims in a really troubled state – especially the ones targeted for monetary gains.

SIM swap is a type of phishing fraud that poses a serious threat to customer along with the telecom and the banking environments. The SIM SWAP fraudster in here obtains an individual’s banking details through vishing/smishing/phishing techniques or by purchasing these from organized crime networks. They then use this information, including personal details sourced via social media, to pose as the victim to the mobile network operator and fool them into cancelling and reactivating the victim’s mobile number to a SIM in their possession. As a result, all calls and texts to the victim’s number are routed to the fraudster’s phone, including one-time passwords for banking transactions. After receiving a one-time pin or password from a bank, the fraudster can then potentially access the customer’s bank account and transfer funds. The SIM SWAP fraud impacts not just the victim, financially but also the telecom operator and the bank, equally. As non-adherence to consumer interests and protection, in many countries, both the entities (the telco and the bank) are legally liable to compensate the victim for his/her financial losses. When the loss is in millions, the impact is very grave!

Have you ever taken a moment to pause and think from a fraudster’s perspective to counter the fraud? Well most blogs that you will find on the internet on SIM SWAP will tell you ways (in bulletin points) as how to protect your assets from the SIM SWAP fraud. However, I am quite sure that there will only be a handful of blogs that will tell you how a SIM SWAP fraudster thinks in-order to be able to protect your customers from such attacks.

Without much ado, let me take you through the 4 vicious stages involved in the SIM SWAP fraud attack which will help you understand your SIM SWAP fraudster better and stay ahead of them on any given day!

Stage 1 – “Cherry picking and stalking”

Fraudsters are always on the loom to pick on their fraudsters and the social media, has, in a great way helped them in getting away with their desired schemes. A SIM SWAP fraudster may look for a high-profile customer or a prosperous and wealthy business personnel who generally solicits with prospective clients over social media. The SIM SWAP fraudster here could impersonate one such client, send out a connection request and start to closely monitor the victim’s activities. The SIM SWAP fraudster can even hijack an account of the victim’s affiliate to initiate conversations/get more information about the victim. In events where the victim does not have enough digital footprints, SIM SWAP fraudsters have even taken the road of dumpster diving and shoulder surfing!

Stage 2 – “Impersonating the victim”

At this stage, the fraudster has got all the information he/she needed to pass through the authentication protocols required to get hold of the victim’s assets. Once he/she has managed to convince the bank and Telecom Operator of his/her false identity, he/she goes on to take-over the customer’s personal assets such as his/her sim card or his bank account.

Stage 3 – “Swindling at once”

Having gained total control over the victim’s assets, the SIM SWAP fraudster now tries to extract monetary benefits from the victim’s assets at a single go. Here the victim is totally cut-off from his/her mobile network even without knowing it. By the time the victim gets to know that there are transactions carried out on his/her account without their knowledge, the damage is done!

Stage 4 – “Covering it up”

After having caused enough damage to the victim, the SIM SWAP fraudster lets go of the victim’s assets and goes on to hunt for another victim. The SIM SWAP fraudster makes sure that he/she makes enough improvisations to his/her fraudulent schemes so as not to appear like a serial offender, thereby leaving the law keeping forces with very little clue of the fraudster’s whereabouts!

SIM SWAP fraud, unlike many other telecom/bank frauds requires a joint effort from the customer, the bank and the telco. However, catching hold of the SIM SWAP fraudster doesn’t require the brains of Sherlock Holmes! Vigilance and a little proactiveness on how a fraudster might possibly behave can help catch them at a very early stage. To counter the ill-effects of the fraud, top Telecom Service providers like AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and other are harping on customer authentication through the 2-Factor method even during telephonic conversations.

However, I personally believe that not much is being done to study transactional pattern anomalies to identify potential fraudsters in the network and its high time bank authorities joined hands with telcos in countering the fraud. E.g. the telcos can notify the banks of change in a customer’s IMEI/MAC address/addition or modification of accounts/transactional abnormalities and then the banks can monitor the customer’s transactions for that week, in priority! Masking methods can be used during exchange of information to protect consumer interests. Telcos and banks can be more proactive by creating a database for reference where any changes made to the consumer’s profiles can be stored and looked up for instances of abnormal transactions. As preventative measures, customers can be advised by both the telcos and the banks to take enough care while sharing very personal and integral information such as card details, social security number etc. on social media or the public internet.  The SIM Swap fraud is known to cause serious collateral damage and reputational loss, however, a little care taken at the right point in time can work wonders!

To know more about how you can stay vigilant about SIM Swap fraud, view this video.

¿Por qué la inteligencia artificial impulsó la Gestión de fraude?

La Inteligencia Artificial (IA) no es nueva y ha existido durante décadas. Sin embargo, con el advenimiento del big data y la informática distribuida que está disponible hoy en día, es posible darse cuenta del verdadero potencial de la IA. Desde lo que comenzó como una historia interesante en películas de ciencia ficción hasta programas como Alpha-Go que ha estado venciendo a los humanos, la IA ha ido evolucionando. La Inteligencia Artificial también se ha ramificado en múltiples subcategorías, como aprendizaje automático o machine learning, aprendizaje profundo, aprendizaje de refuerzo, etc.
FM-1

FM-2
Una estrategia eficaz de gestión de fraudes (FM) incluye 3 pilares importantes: detectar, investigar y proteger. Creemos que la Inteligencia Artificial puede influir positivamente en los 3 pilares de la gestión del fraude, desde reducir los falsos positivos hasta ayudar a extraer el análisis de causa de raíz y crear una mejor experiencia del cliente en protección.

En esta publicación, me gustaría ver el pilar inicial de la estrategia de Gestión de Fraudes: “Detección” y ver la influencia de IA en este paso tan importante. Un enfoque tradicional para la detección de fraudes ha sido a través de motores de reglas que podrían ser:

  • Condiciones en caso contrario
  • Umbrales
  • Expresiones
  • Evaluación de patrones de datos
Estas son ampliamente conocidas como soluciones deterministas donde un evento desencadena una acción. Los mayores pros y contras de este enfoque es que se necesita la intervención humana para alimentar la lógica.

Por ejemplo: para una detección basada en el umbral, los humanos tienen que alimentar el motor de reglas para que el recuento de registros por encima de cierto umbral sea sospechoso.

Los siguientes diagramas muestran cómo se ve esto

rule-engine

Después de mirar el diagrama anterior, surge una pregunta importante, si este valor de umbral es una línea recta o puede doblarse según el comportamiento de los datos. Ahora hay formas para que el motor de reglas se comporte como se menciona en el diagrama,

variable-threshold

por ejemplo, en lugar de tener una sola regla, tengamos varias reglas

  • Por categoría de cliente
  • Por destino
  • Por edad de los clientes

Y multiplique eso con otras dimensiones en los datos que son

  • Número de teléfono
  • Número de la persona que llama
  • Número llamado
  • Código de país

Y multiplique eso con otro conjunto de medidas por dimensiones

  • Cuenta
  • Duración
  • valor

Y arroje mil millones de volúmenes adicionales a los conjuntos de datos

Rápidamente los equipos de FM terminan con algo como esto
AI Blog1
Pero lo que querían o soñaban era esto
AI Blog2

Ahora no digo que los equipos de FM no estén lo suficientemente capacitados para volar, pero un equipo de fraude en un proveedor moderno de Servicios Digitales debería estar más enfocado en otros factores importantes.

machine-learning
Entonces, veamos cómo una clase muy evolucionada de Inteligencia Artificial conocida como Aprendizaje Automático (Machine Learning) observa esta declaración del problema. En lugar de que los humanos alimenten la información del dominio o los umbrales, los algoritmos de aprendizaje automático extraen datos de comportamientos fraudulentos históricos y crean modelos. Estos modelos se utilizan para evaluar conjuntos de datos de producción reales para evaluar si ciertas actividades son fraudulentas o no. Una ventaja es que estos modelos son muy buenos para ver los conjuntos de datos desde múltiples dimensiones y medidas al mismo tiempo y para determinar si el evento es fraude o no.

Este enfoque ayuda a lograr múltiples KPIs de equipos de gestión de fraude allí al aumentar la eficiencia.

  • Mayor precisión – debido a que la inteligencia artificial puede aprender y adaptarse a los escenarios de negocios más rápido, la inteligencia artificial puede aumentar significativamente la relación positiva verdadera
  • Reducción del tiempo de detección – qué tan rápido se puede detectar un evento de fraude
  • Autoaprendizaje – cómo, durante un período, los escenarios empresariales cambiantes y la estacionalidad en los datos se pueden adoptar para la detección de fraude
  • Inteligencia contra el fraude– cómo se pueden aprender y clasificar los comportamientos del cliente o de cualquier otra entidad para una mejor detección del fraude
  • Proactividad – capacidad de extraer patrones desconocidos que no se vieron en los datos anteriormente
FM-4

La aplicación de Inteligencia Artificial tiene sus propios desafíos importantes y requiere un nuevo marco de pensamiento, sin embargo, al observar el Tsunami de Datos que ha afectado a los equipos de gestión de fraudes, parece que un enfoque profesional de IA solo ayudaría a los equipos de Gestión de Fraude a escalar aún más.

Inteligencia Artificial y Machine Learning: La clave para combatir el Fraude de Identidad

En un mundo cada vez más conectado digitalmente, el fraude de identidad es un problema creciente. Según la encuesta anual de fraude de la Asociación de Control de Fraude de Comunicaciones (CFCA), el fraude de identidad ocupó el primer lugar como el método de fraude número uno presente en todo el mundo y en empresas individuales. También aparece como el primero entre los diez métodos de fraude más importantes, el fraude de identidad en las telecomunicaciones durante el proceso de suscripción (fraude de suscripción) resultó en costos de $ 2.03 mil millones.

El robo de identidad, donde el uso de identidades fabricadas en el punto de venta permite el uso fraudulento de servicios de telecomunicaciones y / o perpetúa actividades fraudulentas posteriores, puede tener serias implicancias en la era actual. Con 4G altamente interconectado y el despliegue de redes 5G que permitirán no sólo servicios de valor agregado sino también servicios financieros como pagos móviles y banca se abre el acceso como nunca antes. El robo de identidad puede funcionar como un punto de entrada para innumerables tipos de fraude o incluso terrorismo. Con acceso a autorizaciones secundarias (verificación del código PIN), el fraude de suscripción se puede utilizar para cualquier tipo de actividades ilegales.

Esto ha facilitado la necesidad urgente de una respuesta proactiva y dinámica para fomentar la seguridad de la identidad digital.

Protección contra el fraude de identidad

La respuesta para combatir el fraude radica es detectar anomalías de datos en tiempo real. Por ejemplo, para abordar el fraude en las telecomunicaciones, el Instituto de Investigación Tecnológica (TRI) ha declarado que los servicios de verificación de identidad en el punto de venta en tiempo real son una ayuda invaluable para evitar que los estafadores exploten el robo de identidad. Históricamente, las reglas siempre han estado en el sistema, pero en un mundo cada vez más conectado, la cobertura efectiva contra el fraude sólo es posible con una combinación de reglas y tecnologías aplicadas de Inteligencia Artificial (IA) y Machine Learning (ML).

Con las tecnologías Inteligencia Artificial (IA) y Machine Learning (ML), las empresas pueden detectar anomalías de datos en tiempo real y tomar decisiones basadas en la información a medida que sucede, lo que les permite anticipar y tomar medidas proactivas. Por ejemplo, las técnicas de IA / ML pueden usar la tecnología de reconocimiento facial para identificar un alto riesgo al hacer comprobaciones en listas negras. Machine Learning puede aumentar los sistemas tradicionales basados ​​en reglas para desarrollar y entrenar algoritmos para determinar las características del tráfico e identificar anomalías que podrían terminar siendo fraudes.

Además, las inmensas cantidades de datos no seguros que fluyen desde los dispositivos conectados a las redes del operador solo se pueden proteger con IA y ML. Las tecnologías de inteligencia artificial están equipadas con la capacidad de ampliar los esfuerzos y permitir la detección de fraudes a una escala masiva mediante el manejo de la gestión de millones de puntos de datos de clientes o redes.

Si está interesado en aprender cómo las técnicas de IA / ML pueden ayudarlo a combatir el fraude de identidad

Regístrese para el seminario web ahora!

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning – the key to combating Identity Fraud

In an increasingly digitally connected world, identity fraud is a growing problem. According to the Communications Fraud Control Association’s (CFCA) annual fraud survey, identity fraud took the top spot as the number one fraud method present globally and at individual companies. Also featuring as the first among the top ten fraud methods, identity fraud in telecommunication during the subscription process (subscription fraud) resulted in costs of $2.03 billion.1

Identity theft, where the use of fabricated identities at point of sale, enables the fraudulent use of telecom services and/or perpetuates subsequent fraudulent activities, can result in serious implications in the present age. With highly interconnected 4G and soon to be launched 5G networks enabling not just value-added services but also financial services like mobile payments and banking, it opens up access like never before.  Identity theft can work as an entry point for myriad types of fraud or even terrorism. With access to secondary authorizations (PIN code verification), subscription fraud can be used for any number of illegal activities.

This has facilitated an urgent need for a proactive and dynamic response to fostering digital identity security.

Securing against Identity Fraud

The answer to fighting fraud lies in detecting data anomalies in real time. For example, to tackle telecom fraud, the Technology Research Institute (TRI) has stated that, real-time point-of-sale identity verification services are an invaluable aid to stopping fraudsters from exploiting identity theft.2 Historically, rules have always been in the system. But in the increasingly connected world, effective fraud coverage is only possible with a combination of rules and applied Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies.

With AI and ML technologies, companies are able to detect data anomalies in real-time and make decisions based on information as it happens, empowering them to anticipate and take proactive action. For instance, AI/ML techniques can use facial recognition technology to identify high risk by making checks against blacklists. ML can augment traditional rule-based systems to develop and train algorithms to determine the characteristics of traffic and identify anomalies that could end up being fraud.

Furthermore, the immense amounts of unsecured data flowing in from connected devices onto operator networks can be secured only with AI and ML. AI technologies are equipped with the capacity to scale up efforts and enable fraud detection at a massive scale by handling the management of millions of customer or network data points.

As networks continue to expand and new fraud schemes continue to evolve, a combination of rules and applied AI/ML models will serve as the most effective way in combating identity fraud.

If you are interested to learn how AI /ML techniques can help you combat Identity Fraud

DOWNLOAD WEBINAR RECORDING NOW!

1 . https://v2.itweb.co.za/whitepaper/Amdocs_LINKED_2017_CFCA_Global_Fraud_Loss_Survey.pdf

2 . https://technology-research.com/products/fraudmgt/telecom_fraud_management_executive_summary.pdf?_sm_au_=iTHSrnwsn4HFwT3q

5 Key Reasons Why Telcos Should Turn to Digital Methods to Combat Fraud

Telcos are losing millions of dollars every year to frauds. Of late, we see that fraudsters have become smarter and the tactics used by them have evolved into a more sophisticated level aided by the smart technologies. Further, with digital services entering the new mix of offerings, traditional strategies no longer fit the bill. Digital services, especially those offered on IP networks, are more susceptible to attacks as evident from the recent hike in SIP-based attacks.

The growing complexity in the digital services ecosystem demands a future-proof approach to secure the networks and prevent revenue losses.

Let’s look at the top five reasons why you should invest in digital fraud prevention technologies.

  1. Proactive versus Reactive

Traditional fraud management systems are post facto; they rely on transaction records such as CDRs, payment vouchers, provisioning details, etc., which are generated post an event. Hence, fraud teams can never get ahead of an attack and can only react to it. However, with digital methods, the network is monitored in near real time and fraud teams can tear down a call and prevent frauds before they occur.

  1. Increased coverage to prevent frauds

SIP attacks are inherently complex; they range from Layer 3 based IP attacks, all the way to Layer 7 based SIP protocol attacks. All of the Layer 3 attack reconnaissance need not translate to a breach, but by keeping track of the origination of these attempts and then correlating it to high-risk behavior at the higher network layers, modern digital fraud prevention techniques can automatically prevent such attacks.

  1. Combat Zero-Day Threats

Of late, fraudsters are increasingly exploiting the vulnerabilities in fraud detection mechanisms and duping the system with malicious inputs. To avert such frauds, you need to employ an intelligent system that can detect such attacks in real time and prevent them before they impact the customers. With advanced Machine Learning (ML), you can create a defense against such attacks and future-proof the algorithm.

  1. Scenario Planning

Security and Fraud is an afterthought while new digital products are launched by telcos as the focus is initially on product functionality and the rush to go to market. This makes new digital services highly susceptible to attacks and breaches which are more often than not exploited very quickly by fraudsters. It is important that new digital services are put through vulnerability assessments and scenario planning so that obvious holes are plugged, and then continuous monitoring is put in place to detect any new threats to ensure profitability and prevent revenue leakages from fraud.

  1. Future Proofing to address the complex scenarios

As the digital framework grows complex, threat management becomes even more challenging.  With advanced ML capabilities, the new threat management systems allow you to gather threat intelligence from across the globe covering a wide range of digital products. This will help you identify new trends and malicious patterns. Further, it also gives insights on the specific tools and tactics employed by hackers, so you can bolster the system well in advance.

Stay tuned to get more updates from Subex.

To know more about our Digital Fraud prevention Solution Click here !

Selling devices – A boon or bane for Telcos?

Smartphone flashes in mind, when device is mentioned.  Devices, however, are a large ecosystem beyond smartphones – a range of equipment like dongles, routers, customer premise equipment (CPE) and IP phones, to name a few.  Devices are a great tool for telco to lock their customers in. For instance, the bundled offers with contracts spanning months provide predictable revenues for the telco’s.

The next wave of opportunity

With IoT and 5G making inroads, telco’s are preparing for the next-generation devices for home and office networks. A lucrative opportunity for telcos, as devices are critical to the IoT/5G penetration. Newer devices will be introduced, like small cells to boost network capacity and improve indoor coverage. It’s no wonder that telcos are investing into devices.

Are telcos benefiting from devices ?

Devices are an attractive opportunity as they improve customer stickiness and ARPU. Devices are good promotional tools to attract new customers and gaining traction even in emerging economies. Many customers extend their relationship with telcos beyond contract period.

Yet, procuring, selling and managing devices is riddled with risks. Fraud, leakages and unmanageable debt are hampering the revenues and profits.

A survey across telco’s states:

telcos stats

What are the risks?

Telco’s on an average spends 20% of their OPEX on procuring and servicing devices. The entire supply chain covering the forward and reverse logistics is prone to risks. The supply chain not only involves stakeholders within the telco (marketing, sales, operations, logistics, finance), but many external parties –manufacturer, supplier, financing partner, distributor, shipping partner, warehousing network, retail agents, repair/refurbish partner, and the end-customer.

risk

The technology stack is complex with at least 10 different applications and platforms involved. Leakages of stock in ordered vs received, inventory gaps, devices ageing at inventory, gaps at POS are a few technological risks to highlight.

Bane to boon – Manage the risks

How could telco’s control the risks & leakages, and make the best of the opportunity? It is important that Telcos have Device Assurance strategy in place to manage the device related risks. Stay tuned for more updates about Device Assurance Solution.

Cash in on Reverse Logistics

Reverse logistics has long been the problem child of supply chain management. Increasingly that child has been in need of some serious help. This is due to two factors. The way in which the internet has transformed how we shop, and the short lifecycle of consumer goods. Although most consumers still like to shop in high street stores to find the products they like, at least 8% of sales are now from consumers just clicking on a picture to buy a product, comfortable in the knowledge that they can return it if necessary. In most countries, consumers have a legal right to return goods purchased on the internet. Many retailers now even offer free ‘try-before-you-buy’ returns, but the processes for managing those returns, known as reverse logistics, are far more fragile, costly, and susceptible to issues than the generally well-controlled forward logistics processes. Although return rates vary widely across different verticals, the average return rate has been calculated to be around 17 to 18%.

Brightpearl

Source: Brightpearl

Reverse logistics faces complex issues due to the ad hoc way in which consumers return items and vulnerabilities in the returns processes. Because reverse logistics is not seen as a revenue-generating process, it sometimes doesn’t get the attention it needs, but recently it’s been getting more widely recognized as having a key role in the company’s profitability. Having efficient processes for collecting, re-selling or recycling used items can bring in additional revenue and improve a company’s bottom line. There are other important reasons for giving more attention to reverse logistics.  Consumers are now judging companies on their green credentials, and consumers are aware that many electronic devices contain some highly toxic chemicals. Providing a channel through which old devices can be traded in and reliably recycled is a positive selling point. The efficiency of the returns process also has a significant impact on customers impression of a business.

Although the ‘returns revolution’ impacts all retail lines of business, high-value consumer electronics are especially prone to issues in the returns process.  Huge volumes of handsets, set-top boxes, routers, even TV’s and laptops, are now being returned through a multitude of channels for a variety of reasons. Warehouses may receive thousands of such goods per week. Most of those devices may still be working and able to be resold, but tracking such devices back from customers, assessing their viability for resale, refurbishing, repackaging, and then re-distributing them, is a substantial challenge.

The problems begin as soon as a customer says they want to return a device. Whether it is because the device is faulty, unfit, incorrect, unwanted, or because they’re terminating their contract, they must provide notification that the device is getting returned. Agents must correctly capture the details of why the device is getting returned and issue an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorisation). This will trigger a complex sequence of processes to terminate services in the network, calculate bill adjustments, prepare downstream systems for receipt of the returned devices, update inventories on receipt, manage the inspection, refurbishment, and resale of those devices, and potentially issue replacements for faulty devices. Depending on factors such as contract, warranty, device status, termination type or customer rating, customers may be liable for additional charges or eligible for compensation.
Reverse Logistics

Typical return channels would be to send a device by courier, return it to a shop, or a technician may return the goods.  Whatever the channel is, devices will often arrive without a clear indication of which customer account they relate to.  Returns to stores are particularly problematic with agents failing to scan in barcodes or register returns correctly. In-store systems may not be able to record IMEI, IMSI and/or serial numbers, and there is no motivation for staff to label returned devices accurately.

With so many moving parts it’s no surprise that many devices become stranded or lost along the way, and customers getting charged incorrectly. Operators have been known to write off more than $5+ million in lost devices per month.

One solution is to implement automated controls that provide monitoring across all systems in both forward and reverse logistics, thus assuring that devices can be monitored from the initial order in CRM, in and out of warehouses, with couriers, shipping, refurbishment partners, finance companies and activation status in network service provisioning.  With monitoring systems in place that can even detect the physical location where devices are installed, it’s possible to validate inventory, bill customers and partners accurately, prevent fraud, recover maximum value from returned devices and understand why devices are getting returned.

Subex provides ROC Device Assurance solutions to operators around the globe, helping to track down missing devices, reconcile and correct billing, CRM, provisioning, distribution and inventory systems with world leading discovery and reconciliation capabilities.

8 Simple Strategies for Telcos to counter Wangiri Fraud

Wangiri is not new rather; it is one of the most commonly occurring telecom fraud. In a recent case, a fraudster gave a missed call to several users of different countries. When the users viewed the missed call on their mobiles, they thought that it was a genuine missed call and called the number back. That is where they got tricked! The fraudulent numbers were unusually long and originated from an array of exotic countries. These were premium rated numbers so when the users called back, the fraudster’s intention to extract maximum payment out of them was successful.

In such scenarios, it is not just the subscribers but their operators as well who bear the losses. There is both a direct and an indirect loss for the operator. As per the latest CFCA 2017 global fraud loss survey, Telcos have lost close of 1 Billion USD to Wangiri Fraud alone, which is quite a lot!

In my point of view, Wangiri cannot be eliminated entirely for two main reasons- there is no proper regulation on the carrier business, and there is lack of visibility on the end carrier who is terminating the call. The end carrier who terminates a fraudulent missed call is not aware of the fraudster details and whether the country from which call has originated is a high-risk destination or not.

So, let’s look at how can telcos protect revenue and provide great customer experience?

  • Subscriber Awareness

A pro-active approach to minimize Wangiri fraud would be, making the consumers aware of the fraud scheme. If a number appears to be suspicious, a quick search of the number in several free apps available online, would tell the customer if the number is a part of any ongoing scams or not. Several Fraud Management tools are readily available in the market to detect and prevent Wangiri.

  • Customer Experience Management

As the customer is the king of any business, and hence Telcos need to manage the customer complaints effectively, which will, in turn, reduce customer churns. All employees in the customer care department should be well informed about the Wangiri fraud and how the customer care executives should manage the complaints related to this fraud.

  • IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Facility

IVR Facility is a pro-active approach that can be adopted by the operators. Whenever a subscriber calls back to a high-risk destination upon receiving a missed call, the operator should have an IVR voice informing him about his called destination. This IVR voice message would make the subscriber cautious to drop the call.

  • Removal of International Services as the default service for a Subscriber

In India, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has announced a new mechanism to effectively protect the common interest of mobile subscribers. TRAI has said that international service calling facility should not be activated on prepaid SIM cards without the explicit approval of the consumer. This measure is yet to be adopted by several other regulatory bodies globally.

  • Technology

To protect customers from phone scams, T- mobile has introduced a new network technology. They have rolled out a scam ID by which customers are automatically alerted when an incoming call is likely a scam.

Several other vendors are also coming out with similar technological solutions.

  • Routing Management of carrier:

When a fraudster carries out the Wangiri fraud and gives missed calls to multiple subscribers, high amount of increased traffic can be observed on the carrier who routes these calls. If an operator monitors this activity, there will be a repetitive trend of increased traffic observed on the same carrier to route these calls. In such cases, an operator must take necessary precautions to route all the traffic through an alternative carrier. Routing the calls through a different carrier will help in breaking the chain between the fraudster and the linked carrier.

  • Control designing through FMS tool:

Control designing through an FMS tool is required as it helps in early detection of Wangiri activity. An FMS tool assists in the discovery of Wangiri cases by monitoring the number of calls made by the fraudster. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning can play a significant role in detecting the Wangiri fraud.

  • Negative Margin Prevention

In case of a negative margin occurrence, the number needs to be blocked by the operator immediately as it leads to direct impact in the revenue.

I would conclude by saying the famous quote by Bill Gates, “Treatment without prevention is simply unsustainable”- though Wangiri fraud can never end completely, right preventive measures can minimize it significantly.

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Account Takeover – Fraudster Intelligence

Account takeover fraud is one of the most common fraud types across the world. Fraudsters use the various methods to takeover an existing open account within the mobile operator or the banking instrument. The commonly used method of committing this type of fraud is vishing or smishing. As per CFCA fraud survey, account takeover accounted for an estimated fraud loss of 1.7 Billion US Dollars in the year 2017.

In all these scenarios, the primary goals of the fraudster are to gain access to the account and (by-) pass the validation steps. In many situations, such validation may only require low-level knowledge-based authentication, so basic information obtained by the fraudster is used to validate and by-pass controls in place and to takeover the targeted account.

I was investigating an Account takeover fraud case for one of the leading telecom operator in the APAC region wherein the fraudster used a different type of methods to commit this fraud. Many customers lost millions of dollars from their bank accounts without the knowledge after their account was taken over by the fraudster. On investigation, we identified that the fraudster’s primary motive was to takeover both mobile and banking account and then initiate multiple fraud transactions. He used Social Engineering, CLI spoofing, Spoofed website & Malware to commit the fraud.

The Fraudster sequentially executed his schemes. He targeted only the high-profile subscribers in a region. He acquired all the information of the subscribers using social engineering methodology and called up the subscribers pretending to be a Bank executive and Mobile operator security officer. He asked the subscribers to download a malware-infested application from a spoofed website, following which he gained remote access to their mobile phones.

The malware would read the SMS’s & call logs from the subscriber’s mobile and forward the details to fraudulent server. It also deleted the SMS & call logs from the mobile handset before the subscriber knew the same. The intention behind the reading of the SMS & Call log is to Bypass the second level authentication for completing the banking transactions. With this method in place, he was able the execute multiple transactions without the knowledge of the subscribers.

Impact to Telcos?

When subscribers approached law enforcement agency, the Law penalized both Telco and the bank and recovered from them, the amount lost by the subscriber. The Law took this action to protect the interest of the customers and secondly it was negligence from the service provider that led to the revenue losses of the subscribers.

Telecom & banking service need to protect the subscribers from such fraud attacks by providing awareness to subscribers. Fraud management systems need have intelligence built into them to detect the fraud attack and control damages at an early stage.

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