Fraud & Identity Fraud & Identity

Fraud & Identity Featured Article

SMS Fraud Proves a Growing Problem

February 27, 2017

We all know how valuable short messaging service (SMS) messaging is; whether used to bring quick alerts about new products and services, or just flash deals, to customers, or connecting individuals to other individuals, the uses run the gamut. Something so useful is also a frequent target for miscreants, and SMS fraud is thus on the rise. A new report from iconectiv, meanwhile, spells out just how bad things are getting on this front.

Word from the Communications Fraud Control Association offers the basic threat in a nutshell; reports suggest that around $4.3 billion is lost every year thanks to SMS fraud, and the iconectiv report shows many of the different potential avenues fraudsters have to attack regular users via this highly-popular messaging format.  Moreover, sufficient amounts of SMS fraud received by users—even when not leading to huge money-losing possibilities—poison the well of customer satisfaction and leave affected customers looking elsewhere for service.

Ranging from spoofing and phishing scams where fraudsters go looking for account information via fraudulent means to the so-called “grey route” fraud of application-to-peer systems, SMS fraud  covers a lot of different areas and makes finding solutions difficult. When there are this many holes in the dike, so to speak, one little Dutch boy's fingers just don't hold up.

Those looking frantically for good news in all this can take heart; the iconectiv study also details some of the new anti-fraud measures available for users to put in play and take some of the bite out of SMS fraud.

This may be the high point of the entire study; we're dealing with a field that's used just about every day by large amounts of people, and not being able to protect these people from as much as possible is a sure recipe for customer disloyalty in large numbers. Sure, network providers can't do the whole job—there's a certain level of personal responsibility involved here—but nor should the end user be on the hook for the whole job of security. Protection needs to start at the network level, and end at the end user. If the network can't at least thin the threats down to a manageable level, then the end users will likely wonder if some other network can do the job and switch flags accordingly.

If nothing else, the iconectiv report will deliver useful insight into the nature of SMS fraud, and how important protective measures along the whole spectrum are. That's important for anyone to bear in mind, and reminds us all of the value of vigilance. 

Edited by Alicia Young

Article comments powered by Disqus

Industry Insights

(MobileID) Proactive Fraud Prevention

Interconnect-related fraud such as International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) and PBX hacking fraud continue to be a billion dollar problem to the telecom industry.

(Defender Shield) Defense solutions for the modern SMS ecosystem

SMS is a ubiquitous communication method for person-to-person (P2P) text messaging, which has been in use globally for nearly 20 years.

(Defender Shield) Preventing Grey Routes and the Multi-billion dollar Threat

The convenience of mobile messaging has brought communication efficiency to billions of consumers worldwide. As is often the case with widely accepted technologies; however, convenience can provide a vulnerable gateway to fraudulent activity.

Product Documents

Asset Protect

While unlimited or high-volume voice and SMS plans offer great value to subscribers, sometimes fraudsters exploit these plans to avoid paying termination and interconnect fees.

Defender Shield

In a world with ever-increasing Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging needs and competition, improving customer satisfaction and eliminating revenue leakage is key for protecting SMS profits.


Accurate and cost-efficient routing of voice calls and SMS is critical. Unfortunately, gathering reliable routing data on ported numbers and keeping up with constant changes in number plans is expensive and time-consuming.

Fraud Solutions

Communications fraud is a $20B annual global problem and growing. Companies are looking for peace of mind so that their business and their customers are protected from the onslaught of technology crime that is damaging their reputations and their balance sheets.