BPA Featured Article

Choosing the Right 3rd Party Verification Solution

By Michael Guta, TMCnet Contributing Writer
May 13, 2014

The technology we use today has made many of the tasks we perform more manageable. This convenience is used not only by law abiding citizens, but also criminals who take advantage of the readily available information out there to commit crimes. One of these crimes is fraudulently transferring telecom accounts without the consent of the legitimate owners. To combat this growing problem, the telecom industry implemented the use of third party verification (TPV) more than 15 years ago. This has saved operators and account holders millions of dollars, as well as the inconvenience of have to clear their name if fake accounts have been established.

Although TPV technology offers a degree of protection, operators must use the right service provider in order to ensure all accounts are legitimate. Just like any type of service, there are those that do it well, while others leave much to be desired.

The TPV process is a national standard required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)), as well as state Public Utility or Public Services Commissions for telecom service changes. Many states have also extended this requirement to change electric and natural gas services, thereby ensuring consumers and service providers are protected from criminals who try establishing bogus accounts.

These fake accounts are generally established over the phone, and if the right TPV is in place, it makes it much harder to create an account. It does this by verifying a phone number and checking and validating the number that has been submitted. This includes asking basic information and ensuring it matches the data that is in the system with a recorded TPV phone number verification process confirming the order and validating the account holder's identifying information. If everything pans out, the order is processed and the account is issued to the customer.

The goal is to make it much harder to make fictitious orders and account transfers, which is also known as "long distance slamming." This prevents further criminal activities such as identity theft and cybercrimes with long distance business transactions.

It is therefore essential to use the services of a TPV company capable of handling the new account origination process by operating within fast pick-up and closing rates to protect telecom companies. The verification process can be delivered with a live operator and an interactive voice response system (IVR), or a solution that uses both systems with hybrid platform integrating a live operator and an IVR.

As with any service provider that promises to protect your assets, it is important to research the company. Do your homework and ask for a list of customers, number of years they have been in business, success rate, infrastructure capacity and of course rates you can live with.

Edited by Alisen Downey