How are you supposed to keep track of the low risk telecom fraud destinations such as UK, Belgium and Switzerland that have suddenly appeared on the top of the list of telecom fraud anywhere in the world.

When it comes to IRSF, career criminals are organised and smart enough to realise that they had to change their focus to lower risk destinations to stay one step ahead of Fraud Analysts. This means relying on higher call volumes for lower returns, or exploiting some of the ‘unlimited call plans’ now available when calling internationally or roaming. 

High Value fraud destinations that you would quickly jump to block a few years ago are now replaced with countries like the UK, Belgium and Switzerland – where you may have lots of genuine and valuable wholesale business.


New IRSF Landscape

The latest IRSF report shows evidence of the changing habits of fraudsters worldwide. Here are just a few key takeaways from the January 2022 report(Read down for November 2023 Report results).

  • Switzerland appeared in the top 15 in Jan 2022.  
  • Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom entered the top 3 at various points during Q4-2021. 
  • United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Morocco and Sri Lanka have all re-entered the top 15 IRSF destinations in October 2021.  

More recently, Dominican Republic jumped to number 1 in December 2021 of the currently advertised IRSF Destinations, with over 200,000 individual numbers advertised that month alone.  

Nearly half a million Nigeria numbers were advertised in August 2021, which is the highest ever for one destination!

TOP 15 Currently Advertised IRSF Destinations

iprn & telecom fraud

IRSF – Source of data that you can buy

Our number 1 fraud prevention tip is to invest in a good source of industry data covering:

  1. International Premium Rate Numbers (IPRN)
  2. Correctly allocated ranges by the regulator inside each country
  3. Breakout by fixed line destinations, mobile, Special rates, international premium & non-geographic destinations
  4. Unallocated and Unassigned Destinations
  5. High Cost Destinations

The PRISM International Revenue Share Test Number Database provided by YFCL and FRSLABS is a very useful data source.

Integrate into your Fraud Management System

Once you integrate these sources of industry data into your fraud management system, it will enable all the following features:

  1. Inbound and Wholesale fraud focus scenarios
  2. Real-time telecom fraud detection techniques
  3. Quicker detection using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms
  4. Create cases automatically with categorisation for severity and financial impact
  5. Automatic blocking where rules are safe and business process allows
  6. Alerts raised to the NOC team for quick analysis of High-risk cases, as there can be false positives
  7. No user maintenance on data – the data should be refreshed regularly and automatically
A man wearing glasses and a white shirt talking on a phone, potentially involved in telecom fraud.


Communication Fraud Control Association (CFCA) Fraud Loss Surveys since 2013 have confirmed that IRSF is the highest impact Telecommunication fraud to Service Providers and has been during each of the 5 surveys completed to date. The survery completed in November 2021, puts the loss to the industry for that year at $US6.69 billion.

Click here to view the most up to date survey from the CFCA, released in November 2023:

IPRN Numbers

INTERNATIONAL PREMIUM NUMBERS (IPRN) can be used as a micropayment tool to bill your services. Once you setup the IPRN service, you start receiving a payout each time the IPRN numbers are called. International payment solutions are accessible from all over the world and can be used for different kind of services such as TV-shows or service hotlines.

If a fraudster can artificially generate traffic from let’s say a business PBX, they still get paid revenue for each connection. The business whose PBX had been hacked will get a bill shock and the hacker will get increased revenue paid to them, most likely over a weekend or holiday period when Telcos are more vulnerable.

IPRN Destinations

Prior to 2018, the same countries would usually appear in the top 10 terminating IPRN destinations month after month. These countries would be targeted by fraudsters who collect large high pay-outs associated with their call termination rates. Destinations included Cuba, Latvia, Lithuania, Somalia, Tunisia, Burundi, Congo (Republic and Democratic Republic), Cameroon, Ghana, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Benin and others. These high-risk telecom fraud countries would likely have appeared on Telco ‘red list’ with alerts and/or auto blocking occurring if unusual activity was detected to these destinations.

Following an extensive period of negotiations with governments and mobile operators, the EU Parliament voted in 2015 to implement the EU Roam Like at Home (RLAH) directive to end mobile roaming charges in the EU from 15 June 2017. This resulted in a change of the typical high-risk fraud destinations that were previously considered low risk.

2023 Report Takeaways

  • 12% increase in fraud loss reported in 2023, compared to previous report citing 2021.
  • $38.95 billion lost in 2023.
  • The top Fraud schemes included( Subscription Application) Fraud, Subscription (Credit Mule) Fraud, PBX Fraud, Account Takeover and Service/Equipment Abuse.
  • 42% of the top ten fraud methods are related to telecommunication account manipulation rather than technological methods.
  • 1 in 9 applications are believed to be fraud.
A diagram showing the world's economy and the impact of TELECOM FRAUD on it.
Image courtesy of

Telecom Fraud Prevention with iCONX

iCONX Fraud management system is driven by artificial intelligence to combine both inbound and outbound voice traffic analysis. Using the latest technology and industry insight, we are expertly placed to help you combat wholesale telecoms fraud for international voice traffic on your network. Contact iCONX today to discuss how we can help you with your wholesale fraud management needs.


  2. PRISM International Revenue Share Test Number Database