Last week it was my privilege to speak at the BICS Mobility in Action event that they held in Brussels. It was an opportunity to discuss the landscape of fraud as seen from the perspective of professionals working in the carrier services function of their telco. We all know that plenty of crime occurs across borders, with frauds like IRSF based on exploiting loopholes and weaknesses in the global management of telephony services. One benefit of the shift to IP-based networks is that the value of some established frauds is in decline, for the same reason that voice revenues are falling. However, we also need to be alert to new and emerging risks, some of which are made viable by cheap VOIP services. Common fundamental factors are driving all of the following:
- the massive rise in robocalls received by US consumers;
- regulators and telcos issuing many more wangiri warnings worldwide; and
- increased refiling in the EU.
Cheap and plentiful services can be used for bad reasons as well as good. The national policing mindset assumes the criminal and the victim act within the same jurisdiction. This is inadequate when dealing with crime that exploits the supply of services across a global networks. Communications providers may find they will suffer decreasing losses due to crime whilst simultaneously becoming the conduit for a lot more crime which targets their subscribers. Governments will need to reconsider how they cooperate in the field of law enforcement, and telcos will need to rethink all aspects of their approach to fraud detection and prevention, or else risk allowing a tidal wave of crime to flood their networks. That was the overarching theme of my talk, the slides for which you can see below.