Over 400 Downloads of the RAG Fraud Catalog

It was just one month ago that Geoff Ibbett of Symmetry Solutions publicly unveiled the first version of the RAG Fraud Catalog, an inventory of telecoms frauds that Geoff spent the previous year compiling. The response from the audience for Geoff’s presentation at RAG Sydney (pictured) was encouraging but nobody predicted that the catalog would be downloaded over 400 times in the interim, buoyed by a surge of interest during International Fraud Awareness Week. Feedback to the catalog has also been superb. Here is a selection of comments from around the world:

Hi, I wanted to thank you building this well structured catalogue and more importantly, sharing this.

Overall, I think this is a brilliant initiative.

…this is the first time I found a document that provides a consolidated list of different types of fraud categorized under different key risk areas as a public document…

I just want to appreciate the good efforts of the team… THANK YOU.

We have heard from telcos who are using the catalog to review the adequacy of fraud controls in their business, from consultants who will incorporate the catalog into the advice they give clients, and from academics who have added the catalog to the reading lists for their students. This level of enthusiasm for the new fraud catalog is way above our most optimistic expectations.

And yet, it is not enough. Past experience shows that a success like this will also instill envy in organizations that will choose to duplicate and compete instead of working collaboratively. One enormous multinational business asked for access to RAG’s anti-fraud blockchain with the promise that they wanted to find ways to support it but a short while later they started advertising their own copycat version. A well-known association of telecoms fraud managers stole intellectual property instead of asking for permission to use it. And there have been other occasions when organizations have launched ‘new’ initiatives that were suspiciously similar to work that somebody else had already undertaken.

Based on my past experience, I expect there will be two or three rival fraud catalogs launched in the coming months, and some of them will simply be plagiaries of the RAG Fraud Catalog. They will not assist the prevention of fraud because people who do not put the effort into creating something good will not sustain the effort required to maintain it. However, they will harm the RAG Fraud Catalog by syphoning away energy and attention that would otherwise be focused in one place. The only way to overcome the harm these people do is to make the RAG Fraud Catalog so successful that the copycats decide it is futile to create a duplicate, and so give up before they have begun. That is why 400 downloads is a great start, but we still need your help to succeed in our mission to construct and maintain a truly comprehensive inventory of every fraud that targets comms providers and their customers.

The RAG Fraud Catalog is available free of charge to anyone who wants it, subject to the three conditions of its Creative Commons license.

  1. Please share copies with colleagues, but do not charge for copies of the catalog or otherwise try to generate a profit from it.
  2. Do not create derivatives of the catalog. If you can think of ways to improve the catalog then let us know so we can incorporate your suggestions into the next version.
  3. Please give credit to Geoff Ibbett and RAG, so that everyone knows where to give their feedback.

To download your copy of the RAG Fraud Catalog, or to provide feedback about its content, visit the catalog’s dedicated web page.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.