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Interconnect Bypass (SIM Box Fraud)

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SIM Box Detection & Prevention.
Protect from Fraud with AB Handshake.

Telecommunication fraud can take many forms, and interconnect bypass is one of the most straightforward ones. But this fact does not mean it is easy to combat. Any destination with a higher-than-average mobile termination rate or strict international traffic regulations is a target that is almost inevitably hit with interconnect bypass fraud over and over again.

In a typical scenario, illegally obtained SIMs of a local operator are installed in a device known as a “GSM gateway" or “SIM box", hence the name - SIM box fraud. The fraudsters then use this device to route international calls to the targeted network as if they were local calls generated by its own customers. The fraudsters benefit from the difference between the international termination rate, charged to the upstream carrier, and the cost of the local call, which can be very close to zero if they are lucky with the retail plan on the SIMs. And these benefits comprise the very significant $2.7 billion loss for the telecom operators annually (according to the 2019 Fraud Loss Survey by the CFCA).

However, the direct losses from SIM box fraud are not the only problem. A call routed through a SIM box will most often have very low quality. So there is also the factor of customer dissatisfaction – for both the originating and terminating side. Besides, seeing a national number on the display of the mobile phone only to realize that this is actually an international call is also highly misleading.
In many countries using SIM boxes is a criminal offence, but there is still the problem of locating them before suffering damage from their activity.

One of the popular tools against interconnect bypass is using test call generators to detect such illegal rooting. But this option is often quite expensive and it cannot guarantee a 100% detection rate, as you just cannot test all your existing routes 24/7. Or can you?

How about a solution that is testing all the routes you are using in parallel with live traffic? It can detect a SIM box even if the route is used for the very first time. And this is exactly how AB Handshake works.

For each incoming call the Call Registry of the terminating operator receives a validation request from the originating network. This request contains the real A number of the originating subscriber. Of course in case of interconnect bypass the international switch on the terminating side will not see the call with matching call details.

The Call Registry will also perform another check – it will go through the local calls to try to see a matching record with a spoofed A-number. As soon as such call is found – the case is deduced to be an interconnect bypass fraud attempt. The Call Registry will notify the originating party and will disconnect the call if such settings have been performed by the terminating operator.
So what does an operator gain from using the AB Handshake solution? First of all – interconnect bypass is detected before any actual damage was suffered by the operator and the subscribers. And another important feature concerns legal proceedings that are likely to follow the detection of a new SIM box. Fraudulent call logs validated by both the originating and terminating side can serve as sufficient evidence of actual fraud committed by whoever was operating this illegal equipment.

AB Handshake allows you to stay one step ahead of the fraudster – and that is all it takes to solve this long-lasting problem.

Learn about other fraud types we protect from:

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