Blog article

The £9.1 Million Problem

8 Apr 2021

The £9.1 Million Problem

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have a problem… and unfortunately, it’s a big one and far too sizeable to ignore.

In the UK alone, to cite just one example of a global issue, £9.1 million has been lost by bank customers over the last five years because of SIM swapping scams. According to the City of London police’s fraud division, around 5,000 victims have been entrapped by these schemes. It’s a problem MNOs must do something to address.

Before looking at how, let’s first identify the exact nature of the problem. The three most common variants of SIM fraud are “Swap scams”, “SIM splitting”, and “SIM porting”. All three represent sophisticated forms of identity theft, exploiting a SIM’s biggest vulnerability - being platform agnostic - and allow hackers to obtain access to subscribers’ bank accounts, credit cards and other personal information.

SIM swap fraud is a particularly sinister crime. While human error is a key reason it happens (for instance, when call center representatives are unable to determine the SIM swap requestor between a customer or fraudster), most victims don’t discover they’ve been compromised immediately, until they try to place a call or text. Once a fraudster has deactivated a SIM, messages or calls won’t go through, but the resulting time gap gives the criminal a window in which to defraud the subscriber and MNO.

This open criminal window, if left unaddressed, has serious implications for the operator. The negative impact of fraud on both reputation and brand is almost immeasurable. Furthermore, operators are responsible for taking measures to limit the chances of a SIM swap attack, with an expectation on the service provider to step in with solutions to assist. Plus, pre-provisioned SIMs consume network slots and MSISDNs. Calls to Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to instigate and assist are expensive, with in-store assistance time consuming as well as representing a lost opportunity to cross-sell and upsell. It is also worth noting that inefficient SIM swap processes negatively impact the digital experience generally too, putting operators on the back foot in the critical battle for market share.

Solving the £9.1 million problem

What, then, is the answer to the £9.1 million question? At Evolving Systems we believe MNOs must be able to demonstrate the ability to securely swap a customer's SIM in real-time with minimal cost, providing enhanced upsell capabilities and security options. That requires a proven solution that, among other characteristics, delivers:

  • Support for SMS/Email notification methods
  • Provides additional security and validation checks (last dialled number, last top-up, etc.)
  • Delivers a safe and reliable platform to perform self-service Secure SIM Swap for subscribers
  • Achieves better and more secure mobile authentication and identification
  • Fights ID fraud by using attributes such as recent SIM swap, device change, current location, roaming, etc.
  • Offers extensive integration capabilities including integration to CRM, BSS and Network elements like HLR/HSS, IN, OCS and registration platforms
  • Provides opt-ins to avoid fraudulent use of mobile devices
  • Enables digital engagement channels to update personal subscriber information and account status with opt-in permission (IRP: DSA Digital Activation)

As we have established, at present fraud risk related to the SIM swap process is a serious problem for MNOs. To learn more about the issues and solutions we have discussed in this blog, please click here and we’d be happy to set up a call with regards to our solution approach.

8 Apr 2021