New report: key risk to the UK's digital economy has been overlooked

The UK government has announced the country's new digital strategy. But with fraud soaring to £137 billion per year, the country cannot afford to overlook a key digital process that is vulnerable to attack by cybercriminals and fraudsters.
WESTMINSTER, U.K. - April 12, 2023 - PRLog --
  • What's the News: A newly published white paper from telecoms industry analysts Omnisperience, 'UK Digital Fraud: There's a gap in the UK digital infrastructure and it's letting fraud in,' is now available to download. The paper explores the current fraud landscape in the UK, and why a revamp of its number porting system is critical to curbing both fraud and cybercrime.
  • Why it Matters: With Digital ID tied to the phone, it's not surprising that criminals are targeting mobiles. Fraud is now the most commonly-experienced crime in the UK, accounting for 41% of crimes against the individual, and costing the UK economy over £137 billion each year. A recent House of Lords report named the UK telecoms industry as one of the weakest links in the digital fraud chain, with the Lords committee calling for the sector to become more accountable. But with telecoms firms working hard to protect devices, applications and networks, criminals have begun targetting phone numbers as a way of compromising digital IDs.
Teresa Cottam, Omnisperience Chief Analyst explained that number porting is essential for a healthy competitive market because it allows customers to change service provider without having to change their number. "Unfortunately," she commented, "the UK's existing number portability process is antiquated and vulnerable because it was built for a very different era – long before cybercrime existed at this scale."

The process was implemented in 1997 and designed to allow customers to shift service provider as easily as possible. But what's easy for customers is also easy for fraudsters to target and exploit. "Criminals probe for vulnerabilities and the UK's number porting process is a huge and overlooked vulnerability – exactly what criminals like to exploit," Cottam said. "And yet it's something that could quickly and easily be addressed."

Cottam noted that most countries have updated their number portability process to one based on a central database of ported numbers. This increases efficiency and security, and enables telecoms firms and banks to work together to shut down fraud before it impacts customers. Cottam states: "The UK is well behind its competitors. It's been delaying replacing this process for over 15 years and it has run out of time. The current process is no longer fit for purpose and is impeding the growth of the digital economy, undermining customers' digital confidence, and exposing everyone – customers, telecoms service providers, financial institutions and the wider economy – to a huge range of risks."

Access the Omnisperience white paper here (, or contact Jessica Levy at

Jessica Levy
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Location:Westminster - London, Greater - England
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