Fraud Protection – Dial Plan Algebra

AurorA has operated in the International Telecommunications market since 1994. Since that time the telecom landscape has evolved and transformed and the pace of change has accelerated. The liberalization and deregulation of telecoms since the 1990’s, the move to native Internet Protocol (VoIP) and the deployment of fiber optic networks spanning the globe have driven voice termination prices steadily downwards. Per Telegeography, the annual CAGR for International Telephony between 1983 and 2007 was 15%; if we now include Skype and other OTT apps international voice traffic is still growing over 15% per year. People still want to talk with friends, family and business associates overseas.

International Telecommunications has become a high volume, low margin industry. That is why we believe that you should trust your traffic to a partner who provides value beyond simply completing calls at “the lowest rate” via Least Cost Routing (LCR). That approach can actually cost you big time ! You want a partner who provides high quality service and is motivated in protecting you and your customers from fraud, because even a single money-losing event is one too many and can wipe away any per-minute savings in an hour.

There are numerous sophisticated telecom fraud schemes in the world. Some have been around for decades, others are new and improved. The estimated global telecom toll fraud is US$38 billion in losses per year. The CFCA, Communications Fraud Control Association, cites telecom fraud as the #1 fraud committed outpacing identity theft, IRS fraud and credit card theft.

What can we do to mitigate and minimize the losses to the criminal gangs and hackers ?
– Identify suspicious traffic
– Provide alerts
– Block the suspicious traffic (while ensuring customer doesn’t reroute call to next route on LCR)
– Maintain a database and continue to block previous identified fraudulent destinations
– Ensure a meticulous, accurate worldwide dial plan

Dial Plan ? How does my A to Z route guide help mitigate fraud exposure? Well let me go through the list and explain.

The global network carries hundreds of billions of voice minutes on an annual basis by wholesale carriers such as Tata, Orange, T-Systems etc. Using Big Data and AI, these carriers can detect suspicious call patterns and trends. Even with the size and complexity involved, this takes place in near real-time. Once detected, an alert is promptly sent to the affected customer.

At AurorA we go a step beyond that by pro-actively blocking the suspicious traffic stream immediately upon the alert (for all of our customers). Blocking, however, is only part of the solution. To keep your route guide from automatically going to the next choice, the proper non-routable ISUP/SIP release code is sent to indicate fraud blocked numbers so that it doesn’t just propagate through the route guide.

By maintaining a database of fraud events, we can also pro-actively block specific numbers/ranges where fraud has been detected before. Traffic is then monitored for any call attempts made to known fraudulent numbers as well as to any unallocated number ranges.

Calls to unallocated numbers may be fraud as well. A reseller may make a deal with the number range owner, usually in a low volume, high cost destination for exclusive rights to certain of these number ranges. Often they are called premium or “special” (see my post ) A regular report of call attempts made to blocked numbers can be a warning sign of criminals testing your network, to see if calls complete to their chosen fraudulent numbers.

The key is to ensure that your dial plan is constantly up-to-date with current worldwide numbering (updated weekly) and that you avoid using carriers that have a plethora of such premium or special number ranges on their dial plans. Further safety can come by pro-actively blocking high-rate destinations where you know that your end customer base has no call volume to.

Choose to use a quality, reputable carrier who you trust with your overseas calls.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Also, thanks to Robert Benlolo of Tata whose expertise in this field provided me with guidance.

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