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ANI trolling (also known as ANI trawling) is an emerging fraud vector that involves fraudsters running thousands of spoofed phone numbers through a business’s IVR (interactive voice response) system in order to identify which numbers belong to customers of that business. Once the hackers have identified which numbers belong to customers, they launch targeted SMS phishing or smishing attacks on the individuals who own those numbers.

How ANI trolling/ANI trawling works:

When a consumer dials into a call center, it’s common for a call center to try and recognize/match the ANI (automatic number identification) of the caller. If the ANI is recognized, indicating that the number is on file as belonging to a customer, the caller can be given a “green path/fast lane”. If not recognized, the caller is taken down another, more generic path (typically security questions).

Armed with the knowledge about how this works, fraudsters will run thousands of numbers through a given IVR. In the process of doing that, they can identify which numbers belong to customers (based on the path that each number is routed through). When they’ve identified the numbers that belong to customers, they can then take those numbers and buy personal data (name, address, SSN, DOB, etc.) on the black market for them in order to run targeted smishing attacks.

How Payfone helps protect IVRs against ANI trolling/ANI trawling:

Instead of using ANI matching as a decision point, call centers can use Payfone’s ANI match + call authentication to detect whether a call is being spoofed. Then they can set up the decision path such that spoofed calls always go down the generic path, regardless of whether the ANI is matched or not. That way, fraudsters can’t identify which numbers belong to customers/account holders, and therefore cannot carry out SMS phishing attacks on those individuals.

Want more info about how Payfone prevents ANI trolling? Get in touch with us below to learn more.



By now, you might already know that SIM swap fraud is a major problem that can’t be ignored. It’s on most fraud executives’ radars, not to mention in the news nearly every other week. According to the Wall Street Journal, investigators say they know of more than 3,000 SIM-jacking victims, accounting for $70 million in losses nationwide (the real numbers are likely much higher considering that many cases go unreported).

Congress is also getting involved to battle this epidemic. Earlier this month, Senator Ron Wyden published a letter to FCC chairman Ajit Pai calling on him to take action to protect consumers against number porting (a.k.a. SIM swap) scams. In Canada, the CRTC also issued a similar letter to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association echoing these concerns. On top of all this, Princeton just released a study finding that top U.S. mobile carriers were vulnerable to SIM swapping tactics.

Now you know that SIM swap fraud is a serious threat to you, your company, and your customers.

 

What you might NOT KNOW is that there is an effective, easy-to-implement way to prevent SIM swap fraud that also improves the customer experience.

 

A different way of looking at SIM swap fraud

The focus of the Princeton study, Senator Wyden’s letter, and really most of what has been written on the internet about SIM swap fraud has been the role that mobile carriers play in attackers carrying out fraud. As evidenced in these writeups, the step where hackers dupe customer service agents into swapping their SIMs is vital to the attack being successful. But it’s also very difficult to prevent because it involves humans, and specifically customer service agents, who are trained to be as helpful as possible. But upon further inspection, this step is not where the actual damage is done.

In most cases, the actual damage – theft of funds, hijacking of a social media account, or theft of cryptocurrency – occurs after the fraudster actually goes to log into the victim’s accounts using the phone number he has just taken over. So technically, just taking over your phone number is not enough. In order to really inflict damage, a fraudster also needs to log into your accounts.

An opportunity to stop SIM swap fraud in its tracks

This is where Payfone’s patented Phone Intelligence comes into play. When the fraudster goes to log into the victim’s account, the business (whether it be a bank, crypto platform, social media platform, or other kind of enterprise) can use Phone Intelligence to detect that a SIM swap has taken place and block the fraudster from taking nefarious actions.

Consider this scenario involving a cryptocurrency exchange:

1) Fraudster steals username/password of victim and logs into cryptocurrency exchange.
2) Fraudster takes over victim’s phone number through a SIM swap attack.
3) With Payfone enabled, the cryptocurrency exchange can call our APIs to see if a SIM swap has occurred on that account.
4) If a SIM swap has occurred, the cryptocurrency exchange routes the user to further inspection before granting them access to the account.
5) Because accounts can be locked before any damage can be done, the cryptocurrency exchange is able to shut down hackers before they can do harm, safeguarding their users’ cryptocurrency.

Why CX and digital executives should also take note

From a customer experience standpoint, Phone Intelligence has the additional benefit of creating a more seamless experience for legitimate users. Since many SIM swaps are legitimate (in 2018, there were 90 million ports and 100 million device upgrades in the U.S.), simply detecting SIM swaps and hitting anyone who has swapped their SIM with a ton of friction can be significantly damaging to your customers’ experience and, in turn, customer satisfaction. Enterprises must be careful not to slow down the experience for customers who may have legitimately ported their numbers or upgraded their devices. By analyzing the contextual behavior and time of a SIM swap, Payfone provides a more sophisticated and nuanced approach to thwarting SIM swap fraud. As a result, you can offer a faster and easier experience for good customers while identifying potential bad actors and subjecting them to further inspection.

It’s also important to note that customers of businesses who do not use Payfone have to jump through considerable hoops if they want to go the DIY route to protect themselves against SIM swap fraud. There are numerous articles that give recommendations on how to do this (calling your mobile carrier, setting up a pincode, then setting up a longer 16-digit pincode, etc.) but not only is this time-consuming, these precautions are totally ineffective when hackers break directly into telecom companies to swap SIMs.

The Bottom Line: Implementing technology that not only safeguards your customers against SIM swap attacks but also betters their experience is an investment. However, it’s an investment that can not only help you avoid losing customers, but also to attract new customers by differentiating your company as one that cares about their security, convenience, and experience.

Want to learn more about protecting your company against SIM swap fraud while also improving your customer experience? Request a free consultation below.



Payfone is a proud sponsor of the 2020 Hack@CEWIT hackathon at Stony Brook! Hosted by the Center of Excellence in Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT), this year’s hackathon will see over 150 regional hackers battle it out for over $5K in prizes for the most innovative security, health-care, machine learning, A.I., blockchain, social impact, and IoT projects. The hackathon takes place February 14-16, and is open to college undergrad and grad students.

The event will also be open to the public on Sunday, Feb. 16 from 10:30am – 12pm, so come by and say hello! Visit the CEWIT site to register.

Heading to San Francisco for RSA? Use the form below to meet with us at the show to discuss how and why your fraud mitigation technology should also be improving your customer experience. And be sure to join Payfone CEO Rodger Desai as he takes the stage at eFraud Global Forum.

eFraud Global Forum: The Key to Thwarting Advanced Fraud Attacks While Improving CX
Speaker: Rodger Desai, CEO, Payfone
Date: Monday, February 24, 2020

Use the form below to set up a meeting with us at the show.



Heading to Washington, D.C. for Health Datapalooza 2020? Join our VP of Healthcare Strategy, Mike Bechtel, as he takes the stage to share insights about how healthcare organizations can increase contactability and engagement in a HIPAA-compliant, privacy-first manner through Payfone’s tokenized identity solutions.

Talk info:
HDP Rapid Fire: Ensuring Data Privacy and Security
Session: Stop the Tug of War between Delivering Great Member Experiences, Privacy and Security
Speaker: Mike Bechtel, MHSA, FACHE, Payfone
Date: Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Time: 12:45-2:00pm
Location: Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C.

Interested in learning how you can boost engagement with your healthcare consumers in a private way that enhances their experiences? Use the form below to set up a meeting with us at the show.



Here’s how SIM swap fraud works and how the top US banks prevent SIM swap fraud today:

(1) Attacker SIM swaps victim and takes over their phone number (Read here how that is done ->)
(2) Attacker initiates “Forgot Password” flow at victim’s bank

At this point, the bank has a decision to make: every year millions of their customers actually do forget their password and need help. These processes are now automated so that call centers can focus on higher value services for customers. But of course, the OPEX savings and better customer experience don’t outweigh heavy fraud losses due to SIM swaps. So what do the Tier 1 banks do?

(3) The bank pings Payfone’s patented SIM swap technology, and in real time, Payfone is able to tell the bank whether a SIM swap has occurred in the last few hours. Payfone does this by checking the “born on date” of the SIM. If the SIM was recently changed (via a port-out or device swap) then the born-date would be a smoking gun.*

* The likelihood of a high-risk event such as password reset happening at the same time as a SIM change warrants further vetting, so the bank does not send an SMS with a password reset code to the customer/possible fraudster, and instead steps up the transaction.

Simple and powerful, Payfone protects the leading banks, insurers, fintechs and cryptocurrency wallets from SIM swap attacks in real-time for over 100M US consumers. In a recent case, a Tier 1 US bank saw SIM swap fraud drop significantly in real-time after launching Payfone.

We also recently expanded this capability to UK banks as part of a global roll-out.

To learn more about how your business can join other industry leaders in protecting your customers against SIM swap fraud, request a free consultation below.



Did you know that Sir Richard Branson is a digital security do-gooder? The Virgin founder is taking aim at online fraudsters in a delightful new animated video posted on his Instagram feed. In the clip, Branson and his dubious doppelganger walk through some common online scam methods such as phishing, bots and social engineering. Branson briefly describes each of the suspicious scenarios and warns Virgin followers not to trust anyone masquerading as him or his team and asking for personal information.

“At Virgin Group, we’re working hard to unmask scammers,” he says. “Only trust what we post on our official channels and social media channels.”

To further fight fraud, Virgin has even set up a webpage dedicated to stopping online scams here. Branson urges viewers to report anything they think is suspicious on the site. “If you think it’s a con, send it on,” he says.

While being defrauded and losing money is clearly a concern for most people, there is an important – albeit less obvious – consequence. Online scammers lower everyone’s trust of transacting online – from consumers to enterprises. Because no one trusts anyone, all consumers are forced through experience-killing, time-sucking, and revenue-stunting friction (passwords, security questions, one-time passcodes) to prove they are who they say they are. Payfone-powered digital experiences restore Trust and sideline scammers so that they are unable to touch your customers’ cash or ruin their experience.

To learn how our Trust Score can help you distinguish between fraudsters and your real customers, contact us.

Reach out to learn more >

International Fraud Awareness Week is taking place this week from November 17th through 23rd. Identity fraud is growing at a rapid pace, and data breaches fuel a wide range of attack vectors, impacting big brands and their consumers on a daily basis. Online fraud losses are up >10% for more than half of FIs*.

 

This is a good time to evaluate new technologies that can bolster security and privacy while enhancing the user experience. The right technology choices can help enterprises achieve many of their strategic objectives and result in increased traffic, higher conversion rates, reduced fraud, simplified operations and streamlined compliance. 

 

One of these key technologies is WebAuthn. WebAuthn, the W3C password-less MFA standard, will revolutionize the online experience in 2020 as it moves into widescale deployment.  It supports device embedded cryptographic authenticators. This easy-to-use, strong multi-factor protocol frees users from having to remember passwords, provides a great user experience and mitigates over 99.9% on ATO fraud vectors. 

 

WebAuthn provides an enhanced multi-factor authentication capability for the web – for browser, mobile web and mobile applications. It has several major benefits: 

  • Password-less Log-in: Finally, no-passwords to remember! Log in using device native biometrics or device ScreenLock PIN.
  • Strong Multi-factor: WebAuthn uses device-based authenticators (Bio/PIN) on the front-end and hardware-embedded public key cryptography for the back-end.
  • Client-less: No client software is required. WebAuthn support is already baked into the browser and device OS.
  • Authenticator support: WebAuthn supports platform hardware authenticators (Arm TrustZone, Secure Enclave, and TPM) as well as USB WebAuthn authenticators

 

To schedule a Payfone WebAuthn demo, contact us.  

 

*Aite Group May 2019

Payfone’s CEO, Rodger Desai, is presenting at Tearsheet’s Embedded Conference in NYC on Tuesday, November 19th. The discussion will focus on the most consequential trends and challenges in the industry around lack of trust, the growth of fraud and the power of phone intelligence. Rodger will provide multiple use cases on how enterprises can definitively validate identities, improve pass rates with reduced friction, and increase customer satisfaction by leveraging real-time telecom signals as a proxy for individuals’ digital identity.

 

Presented by Tearsheet, The Embedded Conference is a first-of-its-kind event that brings together financial institutions, technology players, and other firms getting into financial services for the first time. It isn’t about banks vs. non-banks — the Embedded Conference is about collaboration and tapping into the best each player in the ecosystem can offer.

Click here to set up a one-on-one meeting with Payfone >   

payfone named deloitte fastest growing company

NEW YORKNov. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Payfone, a leader in digital identity authentication announced it has been named to Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America now in its 25th year.

“It is an honor to be recognized for a third consecutive year by Deloitte on their prestigious 2019 Technology Fast 500™ list,” said Rodger Desai, CEO of Payfone.  “The fear of identity fraud and cyberattacks holds the digital economy back from its full potential. This fear overtakes the desire to deliver great user experiences and creates a “Trust Gap” whereby most companies can only ‘pass’ ~40% of customers during digital interactions, which is significantly lower than in-person approvals. Payfone allows billions of additional consumers to safely access digital services and experience the best possible user experiences without sacrificing security.”

For more information, see the full press release here >