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Premium Rate Fraud Costs UK Mobile Industry a Whopping £140m per year

At least that’s the claim from BillingScore. Now BillingScore does sell software that can identify patterns and unusual behaviour that might indicate fraudulent behaviour, so I suppose they would say that, but from my dealings with operators it doesn’t surprise me that their processes are just not good enough to stop this happening.

But £140 million – shocking!

The thing is, the operators just can’t keep up with the kind of security that the banks and credit card companies put in place – so of course that makes mobile the weak link when it comes to fraud, which is why the figure is so high. So what are they going to do if we do all use NFC as they seem to want us to? How much will be lost through fraud then.

Teresa Cottam of Telesperience phrased it nicely when she said:

“Premium rate fraudsters in the UK are cheating the mobile industry out of more than the biggest ever Euromillions lottery win – every single year!”

Teresa’s pretty hot on this stuff:

“We need to stop this money going into [fraudsters’s] back pockets, and use it instead to improve mobile networks or lower mobile bills for customers. Everyone in the mobile industry knows that fraud, bad debt and other types of revenue loss are a major issue – yet the cost [is] built into existing business models.”

Of course all this fraud means that you and I get higher bills and that anyone wanting to offer mobile purchasing as a way to py for their stuff gets a RUBBISH cut – the operators take about 30% – compared to what, 3% for credit cards. That cut – which of course is partly that hight to cover all the fraud – is stifling the whole mobile payments sector.

Chris Newell is the CEO of BillingScore — and has this to say:

“Fraud is an issue that not only affects the operators, everyone involved in the mobile eco-system, including consumers, is affected by it. All of us within the UK mobile industry need to work together to help save the £140m that fraud is costing us each year. Then we need to work to address the billions of pounds that the fraudsters are getting away with globally each year.”

That’s actually a good point – if it’s £140m in the UK, how much is it globally? Hardly bears thinking about.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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