Detecting Call Center Fraud with Advanced Signaling

Posted on October 16, 2020

Call Center fraud can have drastic impacts on the business the call center supports, as well as the customers who engage with the call center and share their data. Additionally, despite enhanced security measures, call center fraud is on the rise. In this post we will dive into a few best practices to help mitigate fraud risks through better understanding telecom capabilities.

Call authentication challenges

Caller authentication can be a serious pain point for businesses and consumers. It is not uncommon for callers to forget their PIN or the answers to security questions, making it hard to confirm their identities, which allows them swift access to the services and support they are looking for. With every additional layer of authentication, the caller’s experience can become colored by frustration and annoyance. At the same time, authentication hiccups can take up more of agents’ time and add another layer of challenge to their job. On top of this, nearly 75 percent of companies moved contact center agents to home offices in the wake of stay-at-home orders, heightening the need to create fraud protections while agents work offsite.

While authentication plays an important role in call center fraud, which increased by 350 percent between 2013 and 2019, there are better ways that companies can protect themselves from these fraudsters while creating a better experience for their customers.

One way to sidestep the challenges is to reduce fraud risk through other means. By allocating resources for authentication efforts where they will be more impactful, enterprises can avoid tripping up non-fraudulent callers. Being able to identify calls where the automatic number identification (ANI)—better known as Caller ID—was spoofed can give companies the power to route these calls to specialized agents and stop fraudsters in their tracks.

Using fraud scoring to identify fraudulent calls

Picking out fraudulent calls accurately is made possible through signaling data that crosses networks with calls. There is a significant amount of signaling information facilitating calling in the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) including establish and disconnect telephone calls; perform number translation; establish local number portability; enable prepaid billing and short message service (SMS); and other mass market services.

A portion of that signaling information is the ISUP (ISDN User Part), which establishes each phone call on the PSTN and includes helpful metadata like circuit identification code (which can identify where the voice part of the call is carried), the called number, the type of interaction in addition to the ANI. It is possible for the ANI to be changed manually, an action that generates conflicting information with the new value—an indicator of call spoofing.

As signaling data crosses the network, some call data is at the risk of being lost. However, it is possible to reclaim the information using Session Initiation Protocol for Telephones (or SIP-T). SIP-T enables the encapsulation of additional telephone network-specific call information on the normal SIP signaling layer. With SIP-T, it is possible to use a method known as fraud scoring to identify and reroute fraudulent calls. Below is a six-step overview of how call flow looks with fraud scoring:

  1. The calling party dials the call center number.
  2. SIP-T pulled from SIP INVITE while NPAC data for calling party number is also pulled.
  3. Fraud logic compares authoritative data against call metadata and generates a fraud score.
  4. The switch uses the fraud score to route the call to a trained agent.
  5. Trusted calls can be handled confidently, improving caller experience.
  6. Suspicious calls are investigated as needed.

Helping customers gain more control over fraud prevention

Flowroute makes it possible for customers to innovate by giving them unobstructed access to the PSTN. Assisting our customers with fraud scoring is one example of how we create applications that provide increased access to and control over their telephony and messaging services.  Leveraging advanced telecom signaling makes fraud-scoring calls possible and can potentially save companies billions of dollars in losses.


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