Business

Digicel, LIME join hands to combat bypass fraud

Tuesday, June 10, 2014    

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TELECOMS rivals Digicel and LIME have joined forces in an unusual partnership to combat fraudulent bypass calls which are costing the companies hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenues each year.

Throughout the rest of June, Digicel and LIME will be implementing an interactive voice response on calls that its monitoring systems have deemed to potentially be the result of fraudulent activity, known in the industry as bypass traffic.

In a press release yesterday, the companies boasted that they are the first operators in the world to employ these advanced anti-fraud measures.

"Network operators in Jamaica have for several years been battling bypass. Bypass activity occurs when an international call circumvents the international switching network of a licensed voice carrier by alternate or illegal routes. The fraudulent call appears as, among other things, a local number to avoid legitimate charges and results in Jamaica losing significant foreign exchange, tax revenue and Universal Service Levy Funds while also impacting the revenues available to legitimate operators to further invest in their networks for the good of customers," the release stated.

"This will take the form of a call interruption where the system will ask the caller to key a unique code in order to verify that that number is legitimate. Once the caller is verified, the call will resume. Importantly, customers will not be charged for the duration of the call interruption," the release added.

Commenting on the new anti-fraud initiative, LIME CEO Garfield Sinclair said that the company had been "calling for stiffer penalties for the perpetrators of illegal bypass activity for some time".

"These new anti-fraud practices should go a long way to stopping these people in their tracks and collecting much-needed revenues for the Government," he added.

Meanwhile, Digicel Jamaica CEO Barry O'Brien disclosed that the company has had great success using a similar technique.

"We're happy that the telecoms industry in Jamaica is coming together to fight this battle and are looking forward to this pioneering work producing positive results here (in Jamaica)," he said.

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