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Avoiding Toll Fraud

10th December 2018  by Gareth

As the third most targeted country in the world, the UK loses billions in fraud expenses each year. Over the past decade, incidents of online fraud and cyber-attacks have increasingly made headlines. Security has, quite rightly, become a critical concern for most companies.
With toll fraud being the most prevalent threat to communications networks, this begs the question: How can the average communication provider (CP) ensure that their customer is protected against the risk of fraud?

Earlier this year leading industry publication UC Today (UCT) sat down with us to discuss the challenge facing CPs.

A link to the full article in UC Today can be found at the bottom of this post.

They began by asking for our take on the current problem.

When people talk about toll fraud in the comms world, they’re often talking about Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) credential fraud or dial-through fraud, two problems we are highly familiar with. With SIP fraud the problem arises from weak passwords and encryptions at the end-user level, while dial through fraud can be used to enable illicit call dialling.

Considering this we told UCT, “Though we have mechanisms in our billing system to detect fraud, prevention will always be better than cure. End-users and PBX installers need to take responsibility for their security too. Installing and properly securing a PBX is crucial, and communications providers are, in most cases, doing a brilliant job of coaching their customers about safety. However, it’s up to everyone to make sure that they’re taking steps against fraud.”

How Can Union Street Help In Avoiding Toll Fraud

Nowadays, CPs are increasingly prepared for fraud events and are becoming more proactive with protection strategies. Union Street’s fraud detection solution, ‘LineGuard’ is being utilised more than ever before.

LineGuard comes as standard in our aBILLity billing platform. It works by analysing call traffic as call data records (CDRs) are imported into the billing system, automatically searching for unusual charge rates and calling patterns that indicate fraudulent activity.

We told UCT, “If the evidence suggests that fraud might be taking place, aBILLity can automatically notify all stakeholders and, in some cases, place a temporary hold on the line to protect people from experiencing further damage.”

While there are caveats to how much we can do based on the level of technology a client has, we are actively making it easier to protect against fraud by assessing calls as soon as we have access to the records. Additionally, we work in conjunction with the Telecoms UK Fraud Forum to support our customers.

What Are Union Street’s Top Tips For Preventing Fraud

Whilst there may not be a one-size-fits-all approach to tackling fraud, companies of all shapes and sizes can take pertinent steps to reduce their risk. The path to success begins with ensuring that you have a multi-layered approach to protecting your business and its customers.

We told UCT, “Resellers and channel partners should be using the best tools available to them to prevent fraud. There’s nothing wrong with investing in different levels of fraud protection from different providers. In fact, one of the best things you can do is get to know your customers and tailor a fraud plan to their unique needs.”

While one customer might consider international calls to be the norm, another would see them as a strong indicator of fraud. Therefore, it makes sense to adjust plans according to the unique practices of any customer.

Further to this, we recommended:

Actively looking at your supply chain;
“When you’re searching for partners, look for people who have an active involvement in supplying innovative and robust solutions for fraud protection.”

Viewing fraud protection as a value-added service and differentiator;
“Some of our partners use LineGuard as a value added service to help sell their systems. They tell people that they have protection against fraud, and people value this level of insurance.”

Performing due diligence;
“As you acquire new customers, make sure that you look at blacklists, perform credit checks, and examine company authenticity. Due diligence can go a long way in fraud protection.”

Ultimately, the more you understand about toll fraud, the more equipped you will be to protect both your brand and customers. At Union Street we strongly believe that an in-depth understanding about toll fraud, coupled with awareness of the protection tools that are available, are essential to mitigating the risks of toll fraud.

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