Going After The Bad Guys - Law Enforcement and Telecom Fraud

We’re in the business of preventing telecom fraud, but too often we hear from people who are looking into fraud protection after losing a significant amount of money in an attack. For those who have been burned by telecom fraud, what are the best ways to prosecute a fraudster?

Telecom fraud is an exceptionally difficult crime to investigate and prosecute. Criminal activity often crosses several jurisdictions, and sometimes even several continents. The mechanisms behind it are complicated, and techniques like ANI spoofing confuse efforts to track criminals.

Mark Zmigrodski, CCSP & CFRE at AT&T, recently offered several tips on successfully prosecuting telecom fraudsters to the Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA). His advice centered around planning your case with the prosecution’s mindset. Prosecutors are looking for cases that show a clear example of illegal activity. Legal gray areas like traffic pumping and arbitrage are unlikely to make for a successful case.

Zmigrodski also stresses that prosecutors are looking for cases that are clearly within their geographic jurisdiction, and clearly have a significant financial impact. The larger the case, or the greater number of victims impacted, the more likely the prosecutor will risk taking on the case.

It is important that victims of telecom fraud compile as much evidence as possible to clearly show how the attack took place, and how it is linked to a suspect. Victims should record details of attack timings, IP addresses, ANIs, and any other potentially identifying information and report it to law enforcement. It may also help to find a technical subject matter expert who is willing to speak to law enforcement and help present the case to prosecutors.

Of course, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Telecom service providers and their customers should consider increasing network security as a preventative measure before they are forced to deal with the effects of an attack.

Enterprises that rely on their service provider to stop fraudulent calls are exposing themselves to a major financial risk. However, stopping telecom fraud can be a daunting task for enterprise customers who are not experienced in telecom operations.Software tools, such as the TransNexus NexOSS-FC and SDReporter products, are available that are simple to deploy and highly effective at preventing losses from a telecom fraud attack.