The end of year means festive thrills in many markets around the world, stretching from the major US celebration of Thanksgiving through to the delights of New Year across the world.
This is traditionally a season of family fun, office holidays, and widespread travel, but beneath the surface lurks a more sinister threat—the very real challenge of festive fraud. In one US study by credit agency Experian, it was found that one out of four Americans had reported falling victim to fraud during the holiday, and businesses are equally vulnerable to this festive fiesta of fraud.
Holiday season is a perfect storm for fraudsters, combining increased spending, high-volume communications, and businesses that are either closed or operating on reduced staffing numbers. That’s why tackling fraud and holidays scams should be at the center of festive strategy for companies in telecoms and beyond.
The festive fraud season
It’s not only the jingle bells ringing during the festive season, but customer telephones around the world. This is a time of year where it’s traditional for people to make calls to friends and family, often for the first time since the last festive season! That’s a great reason to connect, but it’s also a real opportunity for fraudsters targeting customers with scam and spam calls.
Scam call types such as wangiri fraud can be particularly lucrative at this type of year. This ‘one-ring’ fraud is designed to deceive customers into responding to ‘missed’ calls, tricking them into a return call to a premium number with hugely inflated costs.
At a time of year when customers might be a little more forgiving of calling back a number they don’t recognize—after all, who can remember what Auntie Susan’s phone number might be—this type of fraud could be particularly lucrative for fraudsters.
Neural Technologies’ SCAMBlock solution deploys layered artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) scam call analytics, with active blocking, offering a real-time network-based solution which detects, alerts, and tackles scam calls. It will also flag a clear caller ID which alerts customers if a particular call may be deemed to be higher risk due to the activity patterns of the caller. This smart, behavioral modeling approach offers an adaptive way to address this fraud. It leverages a variety of analysis techniques, including their point of origin, as well as the destination of the party being called.
It’s not only retail customers at greater risk of fraud during the festive season. Businesses can also be vulnerable to phone scams, at a time when staffing levels are low or risk teams are on holiday. The high volume of calls means communication service providers (CSPs) might struggle to manually identify or respond to high-risk calls, potentially impacting customer satisfaction.
SCAMBlock leverages an automated solution to address this need, keeping customers safe by eliminating the highest-risk calls at the source, before they even get through to customers. That not only protects the end-user, but reduces the huge resource burden on risk teams at CSPs.
Making businesses resilient to fraud
Businesses themselves can also be victims of festive fraud, with offices closed, and telephone systems potentially exposed to attack. Private branch exchange (PBX) fraud is one type of scam that could be used by fraudsters at this time of year, attacking business communication systems and hacking them to make premium outbound calls. Fraudsters can dial in externally to voicemail or phone transfer systems, which are more likely to be in activation during office closures. They then hack simple pin numbers on exchanges, and use them to make large volumes of outbound calls.
Neural Technologies’ customizable Fraud Management system offers an adaptable, scalable solution that delivers advanced, intelligent protection against fraud with automated techniques that can rapidly identify and tackle this fraud type.
The growing confluence of telecoms and financial technology (FinTech) is another area of potential risk, given the huge upswing in transactions during a period that includes Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and general Christmas purchasing.
With this huge volume of transactions, it’s easy for telco risk functions to be overwhelmed, particularly in areas such as the high-growth mobile money landscape. The number of registered mobile money accounts reached 1.35 billion globally in 2021, up 18% year-on-year. An automated mobile money solution is vital to enable robust fraud protection in this demanding environment. Neural Technologies’ solution embeds know-your-customer and customer due diligence protocols into clear fraud assessment, offering a vital protection against fraud.
Whatever the festive season brings, it should always guarantee secure communications for businesses and customers! So as we look ahead to the end of year and the holiday period ahead, make sure your protection is up to date and ready for the rigors of this unique season.