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How Telesign uses Telesign: Detecting new account fraud with Verify Plus 

May 22, 2024

Security is more than just a checkbox for us at Telesign—it’s a core principle. As pioneers in the field of digital identity authentication and fraud protection, we prioritize using the most secure and efficient practices to authenticate new accounts. See how we “dogfood” our own technologies to uphold the highest standards of security, protecting our platform and our clients from potential fraud attacks.

Why we check phone number risk factors before sending one-time passcodes (OTPs)

To streamline customer access to our APIs, enable tailored product configurations, and facilitate seamless account management, we’ve developed My Telesign—a versatile platform that serves as the gateway to our suite of services. Before gaining access to My Telesign, new customers must provide and verify their mobile phone numbers to meet our multifactor authentication (MFA) requirements.  

We periodically encounter spikes in fraudulent activities, such as the submission of invalid phone numbers or the exploitation of voice over internet protocols (VOIPs), during the My Telesign account creation process. These anomalies pose a significant risk to the integrity of our platform, jeopardizing our reputation as a trusted service provider. To combat this threat, we utilize our own Verify Plus add-on feature to assess the risk factors associated with phone numbers before dispatching SMS one-time passcodes (OTPs) through SMS Verify.  

We built Verify Plus to help our customers automatically check for fraudulent phone number behavior before sending OTPs over SMS or a phone call. SMS Verify and Voice customers can set risk thresholds within their Verify Plus settings based on their risk tolerance levels, and then Verify Plus will block OTPs from being delivered to any phone numbers that exceed customers’ risk thresholds. 

For each phone number submitted during the My Telesign account creation process, Verify Plus analyzes the phone numbers’ static and behavioral attributes in real-time to generate a risk recommendation and numerical score. If Verify Plus identifies significant risk factors associated with the phone number, such as recent bot-like activity or history with fraudulent activities on other sites, it’ll return a risk recommendation to “block” the phone number and a score above 600.  

To ensure the utmost security, we’ve configured our Verify Plus settings so that any phone number that returns a risk recommendation of “block” will exceed our maximum risk thresholds and automatically not receive an SMS OTP.   

This proactive measure not only bolsters our security, it also serves as a resource-saving strategy. By ensuring that SMS OTPs are directed to legitimate mobile devices, we mitigate the risk of fraudulent activities while minimizing operational expenses attributed to failed message transmissions. This targeted approach underscores our commitment to both security and fiscal responsibility.

Why we set country-specific risk thresholds for Verify Plus

Given the global nature of our operations, it is essential for us to use country-specific risk thresholds for Verify Plus. We recognize that different regions face varying levels of risk and unique fraud patterns. As such, we have implemented distinct risk thresholds per country to tailor our risk strategies accordingly.  

Through My Telesign, you can see how Verify Plus allows for country-specific risk thresholds. For countries that may be riskier, we assign lower risk thresholds (such as 200), which means that we require stronger evidence of phone number legitimacy and authenticity before sending OTPs to phone numbers from those countries. 

Whenever we notice new emerging fraud patterns, we can instantly fine tune our security by simply adjusting our Verify Plus risk thresholds.  

With our nuanced risk threshold approach, we prioritize both security and user satisfaction. This means we can enforce stricter measures in regions prone to fraud, while still delivering a smooth authentication process across the board. Ultimately, this proactive approach enhances the effectiveness of our authentication solutions and reinforces our commitment to protecting users and businesses against fraud. 

Try Verify Plus for yourself

First-hand results speak louder than words. Try Verify Plus with SMS Verify for yourself through a free trial account. You’ll get instant access to an API Key and complimentary test credits to try Verify Plus alongside our SMS Verify API. To learn more about how Verify Plus works, see our technical documentation

If you’re interested in trying Verify Plus with our Voice API, talk to our experts today to get started.