5 Ways for Telcos to Minimize the Impact of Scam Calls and Messages

More than 50% of the calls made to mobile phones today are scam calls, according to recent research. These scam calls have grown exponentially in the last decade. With technological advances, scamsters are also evolving and finding newer ways to lure phone users.

These are some of the most common ways scamsters trick customers:

  • Callers use fake names and pose as government officials like tax collectors and border agents, threatening people with arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment
  • In some cases, callers demand thousands of dollars to be wired to their bank immediately as if fees are overdue and payment is needed to avoid arrest
  • Calls and SMS messages tell the victim they have won millions of dollars and need to share personal data like their date of birth, address and account details in order to claim their prize
  • The “one ring” scam, also known as wangiri, wherein the recipient sees a missed call from an expensive number, leading them to call it back
  • Caller ID spoofing is used to make the recipient believe that the caller is legitimate by changing the apparent origin of the call

Though the public should always be vigilant, operators should put measures in place to protect their subscribers. These frauds severely impact customer experience and damage the brand image of the operators. Recently a Middle Eastern operator reported that customers are receiving scam messages over OTT applications as well. Do Not Call (DNC) registries do not seem to limit these problems any more, and there is a need for telcos to implement new and advanced methodologies to combat the frauds arising from scam calls.

Here are 5 ways telcos can combat these frauds.

1. Advanced Machine Learning

Leveraging machine learning and developing advanced supervised and unsupervised models with historic data can help the operator to profile calls and SMS messages in order to detect anomalies in real-time with an accuracy of 98.5%. Machine learning allows the operator to make decisions based on information as it happens, empowering them to anticipate and take proactive action.

2. Signaling Intelligence

The operator’s fraud management system (FMS) should monitor signaling traffic from layer 1 to layer 7 to identify any exploitation of voice and SMS services. With signaling intelligence, an operator can detect and prevent scam calls like wangiri, IRSF and CLI spoofing in real time.

3. Real-Time Threat Intelligence

Operators should have access to real-time threat intelligence of hotlists to block scam calls. For example, Subex has deployed a honeypot network in 64 locations around the world, and the data collected is then transferred to the telco’s FMS. Also, our recent tie-up with the RAG Wangiri Blockchain Consortium aims to provide our FMS customers with real-time wangiri hotlists to further prevent fraud.

4. Voice and SMS Firewalls

Operators should install a carrier-grade firewall. The firewall monitors the traffic coming in and going out of the telco’s network and hence blocks malicious and spam calls depending on the rules configured within the firewall.

5. Subscriber Awareness

As a proactive approach, the operators should frequently make its customers aware of the increase in the number of scam calls and how people can avoid falling victim. This will help to improve the customer’s experience and reduce their losses.

While scam calls can not be completely eliminated, having the right fraud strategy will ensure operators protect customers from these scams whilst delivering the highest quality of service.

The original version of this article was published on the Subex blog. It has been reproduced with their permission.

Debajyoti Mukherjee
Debajyoti Mukherjee
Deba works for Subex, where he utilizes his extensive experience of designing solutions for fraud management, credit risk and revenue assurance. While at Subex he has worked in various roles, including: Implementation and Support Consultant; Subject Matter Expert; Business Solutions Consultant; and Project Manager. Currently he leads Subex's team of SMEs, focusing on the management of client relationships, business development for new solutions, solutions design and project delivery.