Home M3AAWG Blog Almost $40 Billion (U.S.) Lost in 2021 to Telecommunications Fraud Based on Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) Data

Telecommunications fraud continues to impact companies globally, with a more than two percent increase in fraud loss reported in 2021 as compared to 2019. That data was shared recently with M3AAWG members attending the organization’s June meeting.

The Communications Fraud Control Association (CFCA) (https://cfca.org) shared results from its worldwide global telecom industry survey, which is conducted to determine the impact of fraud within the industry and to help law enforcement, regulators and the public understand fraud impacts. The most recent survey results were shared by CFCA’s Jason Lane-Seller.

The survey revealed that top fraud methods included spoofing, call-back schemes, SMS phishing and pharming, subscription fraud and IP PBX hacking. Additonal types of attacks reported included abuse of networks/devices/configuration, account takeovers, SIM swapping/jacking and robocalling. Most of these attacks were directed to carriers’ subscribers.

Five fraud types were reported and together, accounted for 54 percent of all fraud losses. These were international revenue share fraud, traffic pumping, arbitrage, voice interconnect bypass and theft or stolen goods.

All together, these attacks resulted in reported losses of almost $40 billion U.S. Companies reported that 41 percent of bad debt was the result of fraud.

The CFCA has conducted the survey since 1999. The survey included responses to large and small communications providers (CSPs) worldwide, including wireless, wireline, broadband and narrowband CSPs and voice, data, financial services, content distribution and Internet of Things providers.

The survey found that 75 percent of carriers report fewer than 100 cases of fraud to law enforcement annually, with 16 percent not reporting any cases. Almost one third of fraud cases were found using manual process, closely followed by rules-based tools, but adoption of artificial intelligence, decision engines and external reviews remains low.

Where does fraud originate? Top countries included the U.S., United Kingdom and India.

If you would like a copy of the CFCA 2021 Fraud Loss Survey email fraud@cfca.org

For more information on M3AAWG and its mission to fight botnets, malware, spam, viruses, DoS attacks and other online exploitation, go to https://www.m3aawg.org/about-m3aawg. To learn more about the group’s upcoming October Meeting 56, please see https://www.m3aawg.org/upcoming-meetings.

The views expressed in DM3Z are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect M3AAWG policy.