TIO wants telcos to have 24-hour fraud hotline

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) has called for telcos to have a 24-hour hotline, or at a minimum extend current hotline hours, to allow consumers to report cases of fraud, especially involving SIM swapping.

In its report on systemic investigations into fraud enabled through phone and internet accounts, the TIO pointed out that fraudsters have exploited slow responses from telcos to create security breaches. This included a customer being kept on hold when trying to report fraud, failure of customers being able to contact telcos outside of business hours, staff not blocking fraudulent activity, staff not knowing how to deal with fraud, and attackers maintaining access to accounts after telcos were notified.

Typically, attackers were interested in ordering handsets and additional services once they controlled an account, or using control of a SIM to access other information including bank and government accounts.

“This can expose affected customers to considering financial and non-financial loss,” the TIO said.

“Where a breach of privacy has occurred, providers may have to pay significant amounts of compensation to settle a consumer’s complaint — a cost that could have been avoided had the provider acted more quickly.”

Other issues highlighted by the report included fraudsters getting access

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