The United States topped the list of countries where mobile fraud originates, a new study from Syniverse found.
According to the report, the United States ranked highest among fraud origin countries for all mobile fraud cases analyzed for the report, including text message attacks, suspicious roaming-related incidents, and international revenue sharing fraud attacks. Spain and Peru rounded out the top three originators of such incidents, the report indicated.
Interestingly, while more than 50 percent of fraud attacks in North America originated in the United States, Syniverse found just under 80 percent of the SIMs that account for originating fraud stateside are from Mexico. Similarly, 56 percent of fraud in Spain is conducted using SIM cards from the United Kingdom.
But where is it all going?
In particular, the report found the United States is king when it comes to intra-region fraud – that is fraud attacks that do not cross continental boundaries – accounting for 35 percent of all case volume in that category. Nearly three quarters of traffic originating from aforementioned SIMs from Mexico in the United States ends up in Cuba, the report observed. The study also noted the use of national roaming over a wide area is a major factor that contributes to fraud stateside.
Though Cuba is the country most targeted by fraud overall, other top targets include Tunisia, Somalia, Latvia, Russia, Algeria, Iran, Chad, Congo, and Afghanistan.
Another fun fact? All this fraud activity adds up – the study found fraud now amounts to 1.7 percent of annual revenue in the communications industry.
Syniverse said its report relied on data shared by more than 130 operators around the globe covering the period from Nov. 1, 2015 through Oct. 31, 2016. But the country said this broad view of fraud is unique.
“Analyzing firsthand data is invaluable in the fight against mobile fraud,” Kyle Dorcas, vice president of policy and risk management at Syniverse said. “Unfortunately, experiences with fraud attacks are not often shared between operators, which can limit knowledge and make the challenge of combating fraud much more difficult. Our global network of mobile operators and the data from our work with them creates a unique fraud protection database and a window into the most critical fraud threats.”
According to Dorcas, it’s not enough for operators to rely on patterns to predict fraud, they must monitor data in real time because fraud attacks will happen when operators least expect it. Additionally, he said a global understanding of fraud – like that presented in the study – is also an important factor in preventing fraud.
“A hot country for fraud attacks one week may not be a hot country the next week,” Dorcas explained. “Rapid and consistent detection is crucial, and having access to global intelligence is a major factor in achieving this. In particular, knowing where fraud attacks most frequently occur originate and terminate, operators can take proactive strategies to minimize this fraud.”