It’s an ongoing challenge to stay in front of bad actors when it comes to telecom fraud. In 2020 much of the effort to address fraud management and fraud prevention will relate back to the common theme of identity.
STIR/SHAKEN is one effort that is currently being implemented to let you know more about who is calling you. Whether it’s a person to person, business to business, or business to commerce call, the big thing is to know if the person or business calling is who they appear to be. All of this really centers around the concept of identity.
One example of how the telecom world is trying to strengthen identification is the effort to make sure that who you think is calling is really calling. If this issue isn’t addressed and solved, then even more phones will go unanswered. People are looking at their incoming calls and thinking, ‘I don’t know that number. They’ll leave a voicemail and I’ll call them back’. If you’re in a mass marketing environment, or if you’re in a call center environment, you don’t want your call unanswered. You want to build enough trust and have enough information out there in the network that says, ‘Hey, this is Intrado calling me. I do business with Intrado and I need to take this call’.
In 2020, any company that is transferring a telco call, including call centers, contact centers, marketing-based centers and political centers, are going to spend a lot of resources working on identity-based problems. At the same time, we can be sure that the fraudsters are going to spend a whole lot of time figuring out how to get around the solutions the industry implements. All of that makes 2020 the Year of Identity. Intrado is extremely committed to identity-based services and will be making several moves in this area in 2020.
One of the trends being fueled by call fraud is a move toward SMS as a way of getting in touch with people. However, there are also challenges in the SMS space from a product standpoint. In the customer service experience people want the fastest answer, the best way they can get it. Some people are a little bit more comfortable doing SMS exchanges for yes and no scenarios. There is a big perception difference between wanting to text something rather than call and talk to a person. Many people just don’t want to speak to someone for basic or simple communications anymore. It is often faster to use SMS. And they also may have the impression that if they call a business, they’re going to be routed offshore.
Another example is a fitness club that has month to month memberships. Instead of you calling the fitness club and extending your membership another month you may get a text message from the club that says, ‘Do you want to extend your membership now?’ You could just reply yes, and it goes back right to the club. However, what if that’s no longer your phone, and you didn’t tell the fitness club that it’s no longer your phone? Someone else may be getting unwanted messages and you may not remember your club membership is expiring. This example illustrates how communications comes right back to the importance of identity.
One of the big things SMS providers are spending a lot of time on right now is solving for, ‘Does that number physically belong to who it says it belongs to and is it updated and, does the fitness club know this before they send that membership renewal message?’ In other words, the fitness club needs to be assured that this is really the person they’re trying to communicate with on that number. The telco providers need to make sure that who they’re clients are reaching is who they are intending to reach. That’s a big reason why 2020 will be the Year of Identity.