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UK mobile industry tackles scam texts and reduces them by 97%

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Texts and phone calls have always been a problem, but since the 2020 lockdown there has been a significant increase. In the UK, an October 2021 survey found that 45 million people in the country (nearly 70% of the population) had received a text message or phone call, Ofcom revealed.

The answer to this particular pandemic (ba-dum-tss) was the Charter for the Telecommunications Fraud Sector. Signed by all major airlines — EE, Sky Mobile, Tesco, three, Virgin mediaO2 and Vodafone, it outlines a number of actions to be taken to combat these scams. And the results appear to be mostly positive.

A provider reported that its intelligent firewall ssuccessfully blocked 142 million (wow!) fraudulent texts, so they never reach potential victims. Another identified and disabled 60,000 SIM cards used for scam messages. A third reduced fraud SMS by 97% and managed to reduce smishing attempts (phishing, but via SMS) from other networks.

Customers reporting potential scams to the 7726 SMS service have also greatly helped the initiative. At the moment, statistics show that user reports have also fallen by 90% – from 500,000 last year to 50,000 this year, in line with the numbers reported by the providers.

The number of scam attempts that actually get through is expected to drop further as more carriers implement the latest firewall solutions and a suite of SIM security checks in the near future.

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