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March 1, 2022 | Jonathan Pryer

Sarah Small, Global Partner Marketing Manager, Sekura Mobile Intelligence

It’s clear that the events of the last two years have forced the business world to undertake a digital reality check and left organisations racing to address the challenges created by the rapid and unexpected adoption of online services. This double-edged sword of rapid consumer behaviour change has created the ideal environment for organisations to rethink their business model towards a digital-first strategy, whilst unfortunately also exposing them to digital fraud and online scams in unprecedented volumes.

Changes to consumer behaviour – a playground for fraud

Much has been written since the pandemic hit about the impact of Covid 19 and the changes that society has had to make in both personal and working lives. High streets are struggling, major retailers have closed or moved exclusively online, and for a period of time our working and in part social lives became an online activity only.

But as ever, where the genuine consumers are, the fraudster will follow. With the dramatic shift to online digital transaction has come the inevitable increase in online fraud – social engineering-enabled scams, account takeovers and theft.

In the first half of last year, criminals stole a total of £753.9 million through fraud, an increase of 30% compared to the first half of 2020. UK Finance

And so, controls are needed. To create the appropriate level of protection in online channels, these controls must be applied across the customer lifecycle, from the initial account set up and throughout a user’s transactional journey, including verification of a customer’s identity at account application and onboarding, confirmation of ID at account login and by verifying device ownership and authenticating the user during transactions, payments, money transfer and through all sensitive online activities.

The ultimate goal is to achieve a secure and frictionless online experience for the genuine customer while making it as difficult as possible for bad actors to succeed. Mobile operator data can offer the solution.

The power of mobile data

While the world has been going through rapid digital change, global mobile operators have been working to get mobile identity services prepared and optimised in readiness to support the explosion of new services and the use cases that this has created.

Worldwide, mobile operators are recognising and commercially deploying their digital identity services and resources to provide a unique set of tools and to enable secure customer authentication, user identity verification and account protection solutions. Their entry into this market has been carefully considered (for example to align with data privacy regulations) and now more operators are offering authentication services and other mobile identity tools and are gaining traction in the market.

Monthly active users of operators MSISDN-based authentication services alone are approaching 1 billion and are estimated to be growing at over 17% a year. Furthermore, several dozen innovative mobile operators are developing their mobile identity services, building on new investment and capabilities in big data, AI, machine learning and APIs to bring more advanced mobile identity products to market.

How Sekura is utilizing this data

The Sekura prediction: 2022 will be seen as the year that mobile identity intelligence data became a truly fundamental enabler for the ongoing growth of the global economy.

Now is the time that the global identity challenges and the increased availability of mobile solutions align to create a market in which mobile data can address real world problems using frictionless, seamless, real time mobile services to simplify customer journeys and prevent bad actors.

The mobile phone provides unique data in that it is the only available source of ‘dynamic’ data about what is happening right now – in ‘real time’. This capability allows mobile data to be used as a source of valuable signals in the fight against fraud, even in the fast-moving digital world that we live in.

Sekura have harnessed this ‘dynamic data’ to flag whether a device has been lost or stolen, signal that a SIM card has been recently swapped, that Call Forwarding has been set to divert calls to another device, or that a device has been recycled and is no longer used by the previous owner. The signals that it can reveal are available immediately so that if any of these actions occur, the data can be checked within an online banking or retail flow and used to help prevent fraudulent transactions or transfers before they happen.

Even better, by using mobile data to keep fraudsters out, it is also possible to easily identify the good guys – you and me – and ensure that, with simple mobile data checks behind the scenes, we are able to access our online services securely, quickly and easily and get on with our lives.

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