Artificial Inflation of Traffic - AIT

What is Artificial Inflation of Traffic (AIT)?

Artificial Inflation of Traffic (AIT) is a type of SMS fraud carried out by fraudsters who generate high volumes of fake traffic via mobile applications or websites. Fraudsters profit from higher revenue from the artificially generated SMS.


What is an example of AIT? 

A common AIT scenario looks something like this:

  1. A fraudster designs a bot to create fake accounts.

  1. The bot triggers a one-time passcode (OTP) SMS to mobile numbers.

  1. The fraudster partners with a rogue party to intercept the inflated traffic without actually delivering messages to the end user.

  1. Together, they claim the revenue, share the profits...

  1. …and repeat the process to inflate revenues further or tamper with conversion statistics.  

What is the impact of AIT? 

The primary impact is financial. There are significant profit losses associated with AIT fraud for enterprises. AIT fraud could go on completely undetected and become apparent only after comparing message volume delivery to projected returns.    

Brand reputation could also be at risk as businesses could be perceived as illegitimate and non-compliant by their customers. If a user receives multiple OTPs that they didn’t request, they'll likely question the business’s integrity.   

AIT is an issue for the entire messaging ecosystem, threatening operators and message providers alike. With the rise of SMS rates and new regulation procedures, brands are starting to consider other channels. Mobile operators also risk losing A2P SMS revenue because brands are shifting to other authentication methods.


How can Sinch help you address AIT?

As a cloud communications leader, Sinch is committed to following the highest standards for transparency and accountability. That’s why we work with customers to reduce the risk of AIT:

  • We monitor traffic to identify abnormal usage and inform clients if we detect it.

  • We block detected AIT fraud on destination network level and MSISDN range level.

  • We offer AIT detection as a part of Sinch SMS Verification.

  • We contribute to a cleaner ecosystem:

    • Our routing strategy ensures fraudsters are excluded.

    • We uplift partner agreements to add AIT clauses.

    • We maintain a registry of high-risk destinations.

    • We're also currently running a PoC for an automatic fraud detection alerting system.

Sinch is a Business SMS Code of Conduct Signatory under MEF’s Trust in Enterprise Messaging (TEM) — that means we help accelerate market clean-up and educate business messaging solution buyers about the threats associated with fraudulent practices and poor procurement processes.

We also keep our chain of trust as short as possible, with over 600 direct carrier connections to operators, actively monitor conversion rates, and take a legal stance when we have sufficient evidence to inform our suppliers. Learn more about our fight against fraud in SMS.