Industry in drive to reduce $17bn of wholesale telecoms fraud

24 October 2018 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The wholesale telecoms industry is gearing up to counter fraud, estimated at $17 billion a year, that is used by organised crime and terrorist networks to raise and distribute funds.

Several carriers are now working together to share information and pool resources to address fraudulent traffic and there is an appetite for greater collaboration, said industry leaders at Capacity Europe.

The event, in London, sees the launch of a new report, Taking Action Against Fraud, that calls for deeper collaboration among international wholesale carriers. It is published by the ITW Global Leaders’ Forum (GLF), representing leading CEOs in the industry. The report will be discussed on Thursday morning at the event.  

Daniel Kurgan, CEO of BICS and the lead of GLF’s working group on fraud, said: “This report marks the launch of what I hope will become an annual milestone in our industry to assess our progress in reducing the impact and volume of fraudulent traffic and serve as a catalyst for future action.”

Marc Halbfinger, CEO of PCCW Global and the chair of the GLF said: “One of the core purposes of the GLF is to provide a single voice on behalf of the global carrier industry. A priority for the GLF is to assure senior commercial representatives are commonly endorsing the work of other industry bodies and working groups.”

The GLF has been working with i3forum and the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA). “I am confident that this report will serve as a call to action to global carriers to accelerate their own activities to reduce fraud,” said Halbfinger.

The report notes that 85% of carriers cite fraud as a priority for their organization, with 74% saying that its importance is growing. It points out that the industry needs dedicated, full-time fraud management employees who are not linked to commercial performance. This “is critical to ensuring that they have clear incentives to reduce fraudulent traffic”, says the report.

Jussi Makela, director of the GLF said: “Leading international carriers are committed to eradicate fraud, not only because it has a negative financial impact on their business but also as it is the right thing to do. The complex nature of the global carrier ecosystem and the sophistication of the fraudsters mean that only by working together, can the industry address this issue.”

The survey was led by Sam Evans, a former GSMA executive who is now a partner at Delta Partners, an advisory and investment firm specialising in telecoms. Evans said: “The prioritization carriers are increasingly allocating to fraud management and keenness to take further action at an organisation and industry level bodes well for reducing fraud in the future.”