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In a recent webinar, Nicholas Rossman, MEF Director of Products, was joined by Catalin Badea, Vice President of Product Management at netnumber, to discuss how fragmented fraud prevention processes are complicating anti-fraud efforts in the telecommunications industry. The webinar also highlights new and improved tools to streamline and improve processes to better combat fraud. Here Catalin outlines his key takeaways from the discussion.

While it’s a new year, sophisticated fraudsters are still up to their old tricks, trying to exploit businesses, consumers and telecommunications providers with deceitful schemes involving theft, account hijacking and other nefarious activities.

Consider the “Hi Mum” scam that recently resulted in 60,000 complaints to German telecom regulator (Bundesnetzagentur) or the droves of complaints that pour into the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) each year. (Consumer complaints about text messaging scams increased more than 500% from 2015 to 2022, according to the FCC).

The telecom industry hasn’t taken this onslaught lying down. Major efforts, including new tools, innovations, and industry security groups, have made combatting fraud a top focus. But most would agree that more still needs to be done to rein in voice, messaging and other forms of communications fraud.

Fortunately, several robust tools have recently been introduced that bring everything together, strengthening fraud mitigation efforts and overcoming data fragmentation. The new tools, developed by netnumber, include the nnCI (netnumber confidence index), a trust measurement resource based on industry and proprietary data, and Number Lock/Number Watch, a pair of phone number monitoring and fraud alert tools.”

One area that may be weighing down progress is fragmented fraud mitigation efforts. The fragmentation is a consequence of the size and complexity of the telecommunications ecosystem, along with the growing ways bad actors seek to perpetrate fraud. For instance, the top fraud methods in 2023 included: Subscription (Application) Fraud; Subscription (Credit Mule) Fraud; PBX Fraud; Account Takeover (SIM Swap/Port-out Fraud); Service/Equipment Abuse and Wangiri Fraud, according to industry data. That’s only some of the many methods employed by fraudsters. Illegal robocalling/robotexting, CLI/Sender ID spoofing, Grey Routing, Brand Impersonation and Call Stretching are among the many other communication schemes.

Meanwhile, the industry itself is a vast ecosystem of participants and processes (communication service providers (CSPs), mobile network operators, financial enterprises, registries, carrier APIs, telecom solution providers and more), each handling an important step in the voice call or message transmission process. With billions of calls routed daily worldwide, stamping out fraud – in all its myriad forms – becomes a very challenging task.

Fortunately, several robust tools have recently been introduced that bring everything together, strengthening fraud mitigation efforts and overcoming data fragmentation. The new tools, developed by netnumber, include the nnCI (netnumber confidence index), a trust measurement resource based on industry and proprietary data, and Number Lock/Number Watch, a pair of phone number monitoring and fraud alert tools.

At the core of these offerings lies phone number intelligence data, a powerful fraud mitigation tool curated by netnumber during its more than 20 years at the forefront of telecom industry solutions.  By using real-time phone number intelligence data, carriers and other ecosystem members can reliably and accurately validate phone numbers to screen for potential fraud, meet stringent new regulatory policies, and strengthen trust around the globe.

The New Tools

The nnCI – part of netnumber’s NumeriCheck solution – delivers an easy-to-understand numeric index that helps assess the validity, reachability and connectivity of each phone number and each transaction in real time. It accomplishes this by leveraging netnumber’s reliable and robust databases of phone attributes, providing mission-critical insights based on a range of rich data sets and connections. Users receive a 0-5 confidence index ranking response. The higher the rank, the more confident the phone number is valid, connected and reachable.

For customers, this important service takes number vetting and validation to the next level — enabling users to make informed decisions about how – or if – they want to interact with each phone number in real-time. A low score can mean that a number is invalid, disconnected, unreachable, or has been associated with fraud – there are many reasons why a phone number can get a low score. The nnCI gives customers the information they need, when they need it, to make the best decision about the number’s path. This resulting clarity can improve efficiency, reliability, user experience and risk mitigation for participants throughout the mobile ecosystem.

netnumber’s other new solutions, Number Lock and Number Watch, boost anti-fraud measures in U.S. text messaging with a particular focus on brand impersonation. Number Lock increases security for business enterprises by restricting text messaging on customer-specified 10-digit non-mobile numbers upon the request of the subscriber to the number. This enables enterprises to secure their brand and prevent fraudsters from using well-known business phone numbers via text messaging to gain a victim’s trust.

Number Watch is a companion solution to Number Lock that provides comprehensive phone number monitoring for telecom providers, financial institutions and enterprises. Number Watch stores customer-specified phone numbers on a watchlist continually monitored for a wide range of events and provides real-time alerts to customers indicating suspicious activities. Customers can determine if the flagged activities are legitimate (e.g., a valid number type or carrier change) or illegitimate (e.g., attempted fraudulent use) and act accordingly.

Using these tools, MNOs, CPaaS providers, financial institutions and enterprises of all types can ensure they’re not only getting the most centralized, normalized and actionable number security data, but employing it with the strongest and most comprehensive protocols.

Catalin Badea

Vice President of Product Management, netnumber

  

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