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What is Traffic Pumping
August 23rd, 2017

What is Traffic Pumping

Hailee Franco

Some people will do anything to earn a buck, including committing fraud. This includes telephone fraud in the form of phishing scams, short duration mixing, port pounding, dip pumping, and countless o...

Some people will do anything to earn a buck, including committing fraud. This includes telephone fraud in the form of phishing scams, short duration mixing, port pounding, dip pumping, and countless others. In the mobile society we live in, it is often hard to separate fraudulent calls from legitimate ones. This leaves more people open to being scammed.

While phishing scams are more likely to hinder people on a individual basis, other phone scams have the potential to affect a large group of people all at once. One of the biggest is traffic pumping. So what is traffic pumping and who does it affect?

What is traffic pumping?

Traffic pumping happens when using a service to make a long distance call. When a long distance call is made it goes through two different transfers before reaching its final location. The first is from a local carrier to the long distance service itself. The second is from the long distance service to the end user’s local carrier. The long distance service then pays the second carrier an “access charge” for delivering the call.

How a long distance call is made matters because traffic pumping is aimed at long distance service providers and individuals. Also known as “access stimulation”, traffic pumping is done when a local carrier makes a deal with a company that has a high call volume, like an adult entertainment line or free conference call service.

This deal involves routing the service provider’s traffic to the carrier’s local service area. The local carrier then pays the service provider a percentage of the revenue the carrier receives due to the inflated traffic to the local service area. If done right, both parties benefit as the profit margin for the local carrier is usually large.

Who does this affect?

Traffic pumping affects both the consumer and competitors. First, it affects the long distance call provider because they are forced to pay more access charges to the local carrier. These fees can be astronomical, with $14.5 billion USD lost last year due to traffic pumping.

However, the long distance provider isn’t the only one at risk. The consumer is as well. If they are not setup to receive unlimited long distance or if their plan excludes international, they are in danger. In 2014, a small architecture firm was hit with more than $166,000 in charges after their phone system was used for traffic pumping.

Competitors are also at risk, as traffic pumping may give one service and advantage over another, especially if it is a free vs. paid service, like conference calling or broadcast entertainment.

Not only that but the Federal Communication Commission’s regulations make traffic pumping unlawful because the charges are considered unreasonable by law.

Traffic pumping is a very real threat to consumers, both individuals and long distance companies, and their competitors. It has the potential to rack up a lot of charges in a short time, making it one of the most dangerous forms of telephone fraud. So how can it be stopped?

Read part two of our series, “Traffic Pumping: Putting a Stop to Dangerous Phone Fraud.”


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