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September 2021

Special Report: The 2021 State of Communications-Related Fraud, Identity Theft & Consumer Protection in the USA

Special Report: The 2021 State of Communications-Related Fraud, Identity Theft & Consumer Protection in the USA

Dear Colleague:

The power of global networks and personal digital devices has brought us both the blessings of convenience and the curse of new, digital-enabled fraud threats, identity theft, account takeovers, and other security problems.

Hello, I’m Dan Baker, Research Director of Technology Research Institute (TRI), an independent analyst firm for 25 years.  Over the past several years we have published reports and stories here on Black Swan Telecom Journal, that focus on telecom industry fraud, identity theft, revenue assurance, and analytics.

We’re now pleased to present this 49-page Special Report entitled, The 2021 State of Communications-Related Fraud, Identity Theft & Consumer Protection in the USA.

Download a free copy of this Report by clicking on the cover image below.

The State of Communications-Related Fraud Identity and Consumer Protection in the USA

While the Report’s focus is “communications-related” issues, we can’t avoid surveying the larger picture because telecom providers are a vital cog in the wheel of a vast inter-industry ecosystem that guards our digitally connected lives.

Indeed, the public is largely unaware of the multi-layered blanket of security that provides timely — often real-time — protection from these threats.

This Report was a pleasure to put together for it allowed me to synthesize research from our telecom industry fraud control reports with broader digital society and consumer fraud issues.

Here are the main subjects:

  • The FTC’s Report on Fraud, Identity Theft, and Harmful Commercial Practices — The U.S.  Federal Trade Commission’s 2020 Sentinel Consumer Fraud study is no run-of-the-mill media survey.  A massive 4.7 million consumers reported their fraud cases to the FTC in 2020, and their findings are presented in the FTC’s 89-page summary Data Book.

    Here we: a) highlight key telecom industry-specific issues in the 2020 Data Book; and  b) examine the wider issue of digital society and abundant communications devices.
  • The Fraud Control & Identity Protection Ecosystem — This diagram shows the major fraud-fighting players and systems across industries, highlighting the intelligence and services being shared to protect consumers and enterprises.  The diagram is hyperlinked to Report text.
  • Digital Guardians — Telecoms, Big Tech & Financial Firms — Here we explore the special roles of the three industry players who play the leading role in protection of consumers in an online world.
  • Government: Telecom Regulator and Law Enforcement Roles covers a) the key role of the FCC as industry watchdog and competition enabler; and b) the importance of law enforcement.
  • The Consumer’s Role in Fraud Prevention discusses the enormous collective power consumers have to demand better protection.  Also included is advice from fraud and law enforcement experts on how consumers can help to protect themselves.  We also talk about a very dangerous fraud, SIM Swapping.
  • Fraud-Fighting Basics prepares the way for a deeper dive on specific telecom fraud issues and solutions.  We discuss: 1) strategies and psychology of the fraud predators; 2) the fraud vulnerability of the hundreds of smaller telecom providers in the U.S. market; and 3) and shift from in-person criminal activity to anonymous fraud online.
  • Scam and Illegal Robocall Protection is a relatively new area of telecom fraud control, but it may be the most vital fraud to control in today’s era of runaway consumer scams.  We discuss various programs such as SHAKEN/STIR caller verification, robocall tracing, and special protection options from leading mobile carriers.
  • Identity Theft Protection — Know Your Customer (KYC) technology was developed for the banking/financial industry, but it’s now steadily become available to telecoms and other enterprises.  Here we discuss techniques such as network identity verification, protection against automated online fraud attacks, subscription (or application) fraud, and the role of risk identity aggregators.
  • Telecom-Specific Frauds discusses how fraudsters spoof the carrier to steal from either the carrier, consumer, enterprise, or all three.  We discuss Voice Traffic Pumping frauds, such as Revenue Share and Wangiri, showing techniques telecoms use to block.  Also discussed are the highly technical fraud areas of Signaling Schemes and Malware Detection.
  • Fraud/ID Protection in the Emerging 5G/IoT World — Finally, we peek into the future where high speed 5G mobile technology and AI/Machine Learning will become an integral part of enterprise networks in the Internet of Things or IoT world.  Strong identity and security control will be essential in sectors such as connected cars and remote healthcare.

There’s a little bit here for everyone.  The Report is written both for fraud/security professionals as well as the consumers and enterprises who the telecom industry aims to protect. 

Enjoy reading...

Dan Baker Signature

Dan Baker, Research Director of TRI
Editor, Black Swan Telecom Journal

Copyright 2021 Black Swan Telecom Journal

Dan Baker

Dan Baker

Dan Baker is research director of Technology Research Institute (TRI) and editor of the Black Swan Telecom Journal.

Technology Research Institute (TRI) has been writing analyst reports and researching telecom software and systems markets since 1994.

For the last several years, TRI has been following developments in telecom Fraud Management, Revenue Assurance and Analytics solutions.

Most recently, TRI is exploring telecom opportunities in IoT, connectivity, AI/ML and edge computing (4G and 5G) in the Asia Pacific market.   Contact Dan via

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