Stopping Telecom Fraud in its Tracks

By Alan Percy, CMO @TelcoBridges

According to the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA), telecom fraud has cost service providers and enterprises upwards of $22.9 Billion in lost revenue or subscriber losses.   Fraud is not just about lost revenue, but unfortunately, is all too often a source of illicit funding to international organized crime syndicates and terrorist groups.  Many service providers and enterprises never realize they have been the victim of a fraud scheme until the end of the monthly billing cycle.   By then it’s too late and the damage (or loss) is done.

This last month, we were joined by Mike Stukalin from JeraSoft a TelcoBridges’ Alliance Partner to discuss means of protecting against telecom fraud.  Mike shared that “only real-time fraud detection allows an organization to stop potentially fraudulent calls before it begins, essentially blocking the traffic during the call set-up phase.”

How is this accomplished?  There are two key elements:

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The first step is to capture the call traffic during the call set-up phase, before the call begins.  Accomplished with either a Session Border Controller (SBC) or a Media Gateway that supports RADIUS as a billing interface.   In some cases, the SBC/Gateway is inserted into the telecom network, capturing traffic before a softswitch, IP-PBX or UCaaS application.   When a call set-up is initiated, the SBC/Gateway passes call details via the RADIUS link to the billing system, awaiting a response before proceeding with routing the call.

The second step of the solution utilizes a billing system that supports RADIUS with fraud prevention intelligence.  The billing system looks each of the call requests, comparing the called and calling number, using a rules database and traffic algorithms to determine the likelihood of fraud.   If the risk is low, the call request is accepted and signaling via RADIUS back to the SBC/Gateway, letting the call proceed.  If the risk is high, the call is either rejected or rerouted to a screening application to prevent losses.

Based on real-world experience, real-time fraud protection with RADIUS and billing systems is highly-effective and should be considered along with other protection methodologies.

There are many more moving parts to the solution, and you can learn more from our live webinar recording, featured on the TelcoBridges YouTube channel at   Slides from the event can be viewed on SlideShare.