Data Tools for Mobile Fraud Prevention

By: Steve Legge

Fraud is ubiquitous. Furthermore, in our current global landscape, all signs point to it being everlasting. Customers and end users don’t want to hear it. Businesses that promise total obliteration of digital danger will deny it. Our industry continues to fight it. But fraud persists nevertheless.

Of course, if there were no silver linings in this story there wouldn’t be anything to write about. No need for apocalyptic perspectives just yet. But before we dive into how our mobile world is fighting fraud, let’s unpack where we are today and how we got here.

Building Digital Bridges

In a tight, competitive global business market in which services are expected to be available on-demand, trust is the new currency. Customer interactions and relationships between businesses and users have shifted substantially over time to prioritize real-time accessibility, personalization, and delight over mere satisfaction. It’s a tall order, and it requires a deep level of trust between an individual and the services used or brands welcomed into his or her personal sphere.

At the core of this transition are our personal devices (the only option for real-time results). Yes, it’s no secret that mobile phones and their ability to directly connect us with each other are a huge catalyst for our new digital business era. From on-the-go financial services to e-retail and online shopping, mobile gaming, social networking, and countless other applications (on top of texting and calling, of course), individuals now have the world in their pocket. Businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries have quickly built bridges toward this intimate customer sphere, giving rise to omnichannel communications, RCS-based business messaging tactics, and the primacy of a great social media presence. 

Why? Because today’s customer values a feeling of connection, closeness, and ease. Meeting customers where they are (deep in their cell phones) through preferred channels (like social media or text inboxes) is the easiest way to accomplish all of that. After all, reports state that 76 percent of customers notice and appreciate when businesses prioritize customer support. On top of that, Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report shares that 59 percent of customers believe that companies need to provide cutting-edge digital experiences to keep their business.

Obviously, if it were easy, everyone would be seeing skyrocketing revenue and customer delight scores with unimaginable growth. But trust is the gatekeeper of all value, and it’s a tricky thing to get — and even trickier to maintain.

The Mobile Fraud 4-1-1

In this story of mobile evolution, fraud is the notorious, unshakeable villain. With trust comes a degree of vulnerability, and with every new bridge we’ve built or connection we’ve made, fraudsters are right behind exploiting any possible weaknesses. This is a tale as old as time, and it’s not one that will ever end differently. After all, there’s no way to build an absolutely ironclad, fully impenetrable mobile world when there are so many origination points, termination locations, users, brands and beyond. Not to mention, we’ve also transferred much of our security mechanisms to this digital space, sending one-time passwords over text, completing two-factor authentication protocols with mobile phone numbers and more.

Today, we’re up against sophisticated mobile threats and tactics like brand impersonation, phishing, number hijacking or porting fraud — and more are being created. Today’s consumers and businesses are at risk of losing money, relationships, personal information, and other critical resources, all because trust is under attack. If end users can’t trust that the communication they just received is from a legitimate brand, they won’t engage, and if businesses can’t certify that new phone numbers coming into their ecosystem are from legitimate customers, they’re risking poisoning their entire operation. Here’s just one example of how that’s impacting today’s


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