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MobileID Tackles IPRS Fraud

July 12, 2017

International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) is becoming a bigger problem year after year. It seems like every time the industry comes out with an innovative new offering, fraudsters find a way to exploit it. And, based on recent events, it looks like fraudsters have once again found a new way to damage organizations through IRSF.

Many conference service providers (e.g. WebEx) and customer service applications have a Call Me Back-type feature that’s designed for customer convenience. In the case of a conference service, for instance, the customer can enter his/her phone number and then get a call back to join the conference bridge. Likewise, in a customer service application, the consumer can enter his/her phone number into an online chat app to receive a direct call from the customer service agent.

These are both great features, as they make communication easier for consumers—I’ve used the customer service option a few times myself. However, these providers have been running into problems lately due to IRSF. The thing is that anyone can enter a number into those online chat apps, even fraudsters.

Fraudsters have been abusing the system by entering International Premium Rate Service (IPRS) phone numbers. IPRS is a number that is essentially the opposite of toll free, meaning that the person/entity placing the call is charged a fee above the regular cost of a call. In some cases, organizations and individuals have been charged exorbitant fees from simply trying to call back what they thought were legitimate customers.

Essentially, these IPRS numbers have been helping fraudsters generate quite a bit of revenue. You may be wondering why customer service agents don’t just keep an eye out for these suspicious numbers, but the problem is that they look exactly like a normal phone number. IPRS numbers have the same number of digits as regular phone numbers, and fraudsters frequently change them to keep them from being detected.

So, what are companies to do? A lot of people use these call back features, so it would be inconvenient to take the features away completely. However, organizations are being hit with expensive fees because fraudsters can insert IPRS numbers as often as they want.

Luckily, solutions exist that can help businesses identity suspicious phone numbers. iconectiv’s MobileID, for instance, provides essential numbering information that helps businesses identify friends from foes by spotting numbers at risk for IPRS fraud. MobileID maintains a database of more than one million unallocated high-risk numbers; quickly identifies fraudulent calls to premium rate services, unallocated numbers, and non-standard numbers; and provides more than 1M validated and continuously updated dial codes from more than 230 countries.

It may not be possible to catch every single fraudulent phone number, but solutions like MobileID are a start. They equip companies with information that can help identify suspicious activity and, in a world where fraudsters are constantly preying on the uninformed, that’s the best defense we can ask for in this scenario.

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