Efforts to counter this type of fraud have fallen short of the mark, remaining corrective, most often with compensation paid out from banks, as opposed to preventative. What is required is to stop the completion of a fraudulent SIM swap request in the first instance, thus preventing the subsequent fraud.
Two stage authentication has been widely adopted to confirm the identity of account owners on banking apps, email providers, social media and on OTT streaming services. Nevertheless this still leaves a gaping hole in the face of SIM swap fraud. Directing authentication messages to a phone number means it has little in the way of safeguards following an illegal SIM swap, continuing to blindly forward verification messages to fraudsters in control of the phone number.
As with many frauds SIM swap is time critical, once a swap has been executed it can take just minutes for criminals to access sensitive accounts. Two stage authentication has been almost entirely overlooked by telecoms, where in fact it can be utilised as an extra layer of security at the signalling level. From within the core network two stage authentication can be used to identify when a SIM swap is in progress, and establish the legitimacy of the swap request, red flagging suspect swaps before finalising them, and preventing the subsequent fraud.
As increasing numbers of consumers opt for second hand and refurbished handsets driven by the high cost of new phones, so will the number of people requesting to swap their SIM’s. With greater SIM swap requests being made to call centres, it will be crucial that telecom operators have robust processes at every level of their business to counter fraud.
To successfully combat SIM swap fraud and other types of network fraud it takes a multi-layered approach, where signalling can play a crucial role.
As signalling and protocol specialists Squire Technologies develop innovative solutions to combat telecoms network fraud. To find out about these including our MavenShield fraud prevention solution, and Prism network monitoring probes visit www.squire-technologies.com