Four tips for voice fraud security

Fraudsters exploit weaknesses in voice solutions. Learn how you can improve your telecom fraud prevention to deliver secure communications.

Four tips for voice fraud security

Fraudsters exploit weaknesses in voice solutions. Learn how you can improve your telecom fraud prevention to deliver secure communications.

Anthony James
Anthony JamesGlobal Voice Product Manager, BT

In many ways, the shift to hybrid working has been a gift to fraudsters.

Today, it’s much more likely your people are working alone – maybe at home, maybe in the co-working area or a cafe. Either way, they’re spending less time in traditional office environments where they’re more alert for suspicious calls and more likely to turn to a colleague and chat through any concerns.

This ‘isolated worker’ scenario is also affecting contact centres now that so many agents are working remotely. Fraudsters know this, and it’s likely a factor in the high level of attacks that contact centres are facing. 

On an hourly basis, agents are up against sophisticated attempts to obtain information about the organisation, its systems and its customers. And it only takes one person not staying vigilant to let the fraudsters in.

Organisations must keep pace with fraudster’s tactics to make sure their telecom fraud prevention measures are as strong as possible. So, what should you look out for right now?

Is your fraud security ready to withstand wangiri?

Wangiri is a Japanese word that means ‘one ring and drop’ - and that’s exactly how it works. 

Fraudsters using this scam will call you from a premium or international number and leave a missed call in the hope that you’ll call them back. If you call back, they’ll try to keep you on the line as long as possible to rack up the charges. And, since these calls are often outside the organisation’s call cost bundle, they can lead to significant bill shock. 

In some cases, fraudsters can obtain money solely by the act of the caller initiating the call.

It can happen to anyone. A world-leading manufacturer of consumer goods prioritised customer service by promising to call back any customer leaving their number with customer care. Immediately, fraudsters requested call backs to premium rate numbers around the world for days on end, causing massive bill shock.

So how do you stop this being you?

Four tips for rock-solid voice fraud security

There’s no silver bullet for keeping the fraudsters out of your global voice solution. Instead, it’s a question of taking coordinated action on several fronts:

1. Create a culture of cyber-security awareness in your organisation

Your people are on the frontline of your telecom fraud prevention defences. In fact, they’re your human firewall. Make sure they understand what to look out for and the importance of staying vigilant, wherever they’re working.

2. Train your people on how to operate securely

This should include effective user adoption and ongoing support on how to use your technology securely, as well as implementing strong password security policies.

3. Make sure your people report every suspicious call

If a call is suspicious, investigate it every time and report it to both your national fraud monitoring and reporting service and to your service provider to make sure your reports reach the right place.

4. Partner with a telecom provider that prioritises fraud prevention

Ask your telecom provider some hard questions about telecom fraud prevention, fraud detection and how these fit into their cyber-security approach. Probe them on how they can protect you within regulatory compliance requirements and look for a willingness to work collaboratively with you. Vigilance needs to come from both sides of the partnership.

Delivering a telecom fraud prevention fishing net

When our fraud prevention teams partner with customers, they never relax their vigilance. They continually challenge themselves and the voice carrier community to achieve more.

Over the past few years, we’ve been on a journey of fraud discovery and evolution with the goal of building a fraud fishing net that we can use to shield our customers. Our concept is simple: catch fraudulent calls early and stop them from ever maturing into a cost to customers. And, if calls wriggle through the net, get our experts on the case immediately to reduce our customers’ exposure as much as possible.

At the beginning, our fraud fishing net had large holes and primarily caught the big, obvious fish. Since then, we’ve layered in more defensive tools that have meshed together to make the net’s holes smaller and smaller. Today, the frauds that get through are extremely low-cost ones. 

Our continuous efforts include learning the new behaviours of fraudsters and understanding how they exploit new developments in the industry. As a result, our net is now extremely efficient, and every month we block fraud calls that would cost our customers around a million pounds sterling.

Tweaking our net to make the holes smaller

We don’t stand still. If a fraud gets through, we challenge our teams to prevent that scenario from ever happening again, and we tweak our net to make the holes even smaller.

When we suspect fraud, we don’t hesitate to take immediate action – then we explain to our customer what we’ve done. 

Other telcos take a different approach. They notify customers of possible fraudulent activity and, if they don’t hear back, they let the traffic continue to flow. This is a risky tactic that can have significant costs for customers. For example, what if a telco lets fraud calls continue over a holiday because they’re waiting for the authority to block the calls?

Telecom fraud prevention is a fundamental part of the cyber-security that underpins the secure and compliant communications we deliver. We focus on protecting your organisation’s inbound and outbound calls travelling across our global network so you can focus on your core purpose.

Ready to find out more about our global voice solutions? Contact us today.