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Fraud and Identity: What You Need to Know

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Fraud and Identity: What You Need to Know

February 23, 2017
By Alicia Young Web Editor

Communications fraud is a growing global problem that costs businesses a combined amount of $20 billion each year. This type of fraud can result in a variety of negative consequences for businesses, including losing revenue, risking reputation, threatening the livelihood and reputation of customers whose identity is stolen and misused, angering consumers, governmental and regulatory compliance issues, threats to public safety, loss of import duties, and degrading quality of service. It does not matter which industry your company is part of—communications fraud is bad for everyone, whether they’re service providers, consumers, digital marketers, businesses or governments. 

The Problem

Communications fraud can be broken down into multiple categories, two of which are the broader term fraud and identity fraud. While they both may involve the abuse of communications networks, the difference between the two terms actually lies in who they impact, what they do, and how they’re stopped. In this case, identity fraud refers to protecting a consumer’s identity through additional verification and authentication measures. Essentially, it’s all about making identity theft harder to accomplish for fraudsters, whether they’re attacking enterprises or digital marketers. Meanwhile, the broader term fraud can be improved through the process of carrier revenue assurance. It’s all about preventing/stopping/anticipating fraudulent activity of a service provider’s network. For instance, this could include taking measures against SIM box fraud or International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF).

Identity Fraud

Let’s start by taking a closer look at identity fraud in enterprises and digital marketing. Identity fraud is a newer form of fraud, and is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s enterprises. Fighting against this type of fraud is all about protecting the customer’s identity which, in turn, ends up being good for the businesses involved as well. Whether someone’s identity has been stolen due to a hacked bank account, stolen phone, or other method, the problem remains the same. Many times, identities are stolen due to a lack of adequate safeguards and protections. This is where identity protection comes into play. Better verification and authentication methods can be put in place through a variety of solutions—one time passwords, multi-factor authentication, etc. Essentially, the purpose of identity protection is to make it as difficult as possible for fraudsters to access devices or accounts that do not belong to them. Protecting against identity fraud is good for the customer for obvious reasons, but is also essential for the success of the enterprise involved, given that security issues would undoubtedly ruin their reputations.

On the flip side of identity fraud, digital marketers can also be affected. It makes sense that these companies would be prime targets for fraudsters, since they are constantly reaching out to consumers. As a result, it’s common for fraudsters to hack their systems and send out spam messages to customers. Unfortunately for the marketing companies, unwanted messages go against federal regulations and can result in fines for the company. Therefore, additional identity protection, such as the abovementioned verification solutions, is needed to make sure that the messages these digital marketers are sending are being sent to and wanted by the person on the receiving end.

Revenue Assurance

Meanwhile, carrier revenue assurance is a process that is used to improve fraud detection that results in revenue increases for the company. Unfortunately, fraud shows no signs of abating, and is often allowed to continue because service providers don’t know how to stop it from occurring. If service providers allow fraudulent activity to occur unchecked for a prolonged period of time, they can experience a myriad of problems, including: lost profits due to revenue leakage, which is caused by bypass fraud or grey routes; fraudulent charges caused by IRSF and PBX (News - Alert) hacking; or SIM box fraud, which involves sending illegal, unauthorized or unwanted traffic including spam to consumers’ mobile devices. It can be difficult for service providers to identify and stop fraudulent activity on their own, which is why fraud solutions are needed to help them anticipate, prevent and stop any suspicious activity.

The Solution

Whether you’re an enterprise or service provider, no type of fraud is good for business. Reputations have been ruined because customers don’t feel that they can trust companies that have experienced fraud because the (often correct) assumption is that they do not have the right security and authentication measures in place. Aside from ruined reputations, fraud and identity fraud have also resulted in serious fines because the actions of hackers go against acts and regulations put in place to protect customers. With typical fraud showing no signs of slowing down, and identity fraud an up and coming threat that continues to grow stronger, it’s imperative for companies to take action to prevent these threats.

 Luckily, companies like iconectiv (News - Alert) exist to combat both kinds of fraudulent activity. According to the company, it “…can protect identity in instances where identity is linked to a mobile phone number, a communications network, or to a connected device.” It can be difficult for a company to detect fraudulent use of communications networks or technologies on its own, so it’s worth it to look into a solution that can identify the abuse and act to stop it.


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