Global data roaming fraud is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2028; driven by the increase in bilateral roaming agreements for data-intensive use cases over 5G networks, a new report said on Tuesday.

According to Juniper Research, fraudulent data traffic will account for 80 percent of global operator roaming-based losses by 2024.

As 2G and 3G networks are sunsetting, operators are accelerating the transition to 5G and VoLTE roaming services to leverage the high levels of virtualization and lower operational costs.

However, the highly virtualized nature of 5G networks is creating more opportunities for fraudsters to deploy their attacks; leaving operator networks open to emerging fraud tactics over 5G networks.

“Operators must implement 5G-specific signaling detection and firewalls that offer real-time monitoring and ID-registry analysis. Only then, can operators more efficiently identify subscription fraud across 100 million 5G roaming connections predicted globally in 2024,” said research author Rosie O’Connor.

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As bilateral 5G roaming agreements proliferate, the researchers predicted that operators will deploy more sophisticated fraud mitigation tools.

The greater amount of data that 5G roaming connections generate will require the development of solutions that can detect fraudulent users and traffic over new 5G networks as they evolve.

As an example, there has been an increase in 5G subscription fraud, in which fraudsters create new subscriptions with false information, incurring roaming charges without intending to pay.

Until the subscription is canceled, fraudsters will continue to use 5G roaming data anonymously, costing operators potential roaming revenue, the report mentioned.

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Moreover, the report said that fraud mitigation services will alert operators of any potentially fraudulent activity across 5G networks in real-time and enable them to identify and block suspicious roaming subscribers, enabling operators to minimize fraudulent activity, and reducing the impact on their roaming revenue.