The mobile industry has always suffered from fraud and revenue leakage. However, much of the focus is on well-known fraudulent practices such as non-payment of bills, abuse of credit, and organised schemes such as bulk SMS or SIM box fraud. Countering network and customer crimes are priorities for mobile operator fraud and revenue assurance teams, but less attention is devoted to crime that originates on or relates to the mobile device itself.
These offences cut across the entire mobile device lifecycle and extend from device theft in the mobile supply chain to the trafficking of devices for resale outside the intended market. This class of criminal activity has proliferated due to the high value of smartphones making it attractive for criminals to steal devices, defraud insurers and warranty providers, to abuse shared usage policies or to defraud the device recall process. With new mobile devices costing up to USD2,000 and the increasing reliance of consumers on their smartphones to conduct very high value activities, device-related crimes continues. This is despite industry efforts to contain and eradicate such crimes through initiatives like the GSMA’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) Database.