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SMS Toll Fraud

Jan 11, 2024

SMS Tool Fraud is also called artificially inflated traffic (AIT), SMS pumping, or International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF), this is when bad actors trick businesses into sending text messages to premium-rate numbers under their control, resulting in disproportionately inflated telecom bills. Attackers collude with MNOs to exploit business SMS workflows and trigger initiation of massive volumes of SMS messages to premium-rate numbers, and share the illegitimate revenues so generated.
Bot-driven SMS toll fraud, in particular, can hugely swell the phone bills of an organization by scaling up fraudulent sending of SMS messages to premium-rate numbers. And with little recourse available to mitigate the loss after SMS initiation, businesses are left with no option but to absorb the financial blow.
International Revenue Share Fraud (IRSF) is a method of stealing money. Fraudsters hijack regular business processes and transfer a small amount of funds to their own accounts at a time. However, by accumulating a small amount into a large amount, this Such attacks are costly and difficult to detect.
How IRSF attacks: Fraudsters illegally obtain high-rate numbers or ranges of numbers that are used to register on apps and websites, log in (e.g., Multiple Factor Authentication), trigger voice calls and/or verify text messages. They then collude with international number providers and content providers to artificially increase traffic and take a share of the revenue from the phone charges generated.
Targets and signs of IRSF: Global enterprises that generate a large number of calls and messages every day, companies that conduct SMS/voice verification with customers, mobile application providers, etc. are all potential victims of IRSF. Signs of IRSF include a surge in the volume of text messages sent, anomalies in the location/geographic attributes of incoming calls, changes in the speed and rate of text message reception, etc.

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