LIVE FROM MWC21 LOS ANGELES: Robocalls were a primary focus of the GSMA Fraud Summit hosted by GSMA North America head of technology Carlos Bosch.

Bosch highlighted the financial toll of robocalls, noting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates these cost US citizens $10 billion annually. The FCC also reported although the number of calls declined from 2019 to 2020, consumers are now answering more than they were previously.

Another cost of robocalls is lost communication since consumers are learning not to answer calls from unknown numbers, Bosch explained, citing an example of a stranded walker who failed to answer calls from rescuers.

Bosch told the audience the GSMA formed a working group to address issues of fraud and robocalls.

He noted the GSMA has created a reference platform and also introduced the world’s first global trouble ticket, meaning one operator can open a case on another’s network when suspected fraud occurs.

Automated queries of call paths will help operators fight robocalls, Bosch said, and will be much more efficient than today’s manual processes. He also called for a central registry of call data from multiple operators.

GSMA advocacy manager Campbell Massie noted “robocalling is the FCC”s number-one consumer protection priority”.

The FCC has pressed US operators to validate calls before connecting them to consumers, but recently proposed this burden be shifted to gateway providers, Massie explained.

Simon Marchand, chief fraud prevention officer for security and biometrics at Nuance Communications (pictured, right) noted biometric validation of customers can help operators prevent fraudsters taking over accounts through SIM swaps.

Human trafficking and terrorism are funded by the proceeds from SIM swaps, Marchand continued, adding savvy operators can prevent a significant amount because the “way a fraudster asks for a SIM swap will not be the same as the way a real customer asks”.