UK mobile industry cracks down on scam texts, reduces them by 97%

Scam texts and calls have always been a problem, but they have had a significant uptick since the 2020 lockdowns hit. In the UK, a study from October of 2021 revealed that 45 million people in the country (almost 70% of the population) had received either a scam text or call, Ofcom revealed.

The answer to this particular pandemic (ba-dum-tss) was the Telecommunications Fraud Sector Charter. Signed by all major carriers — EE, Sky Mobile, Tesco, Three, Virgin MediaO2, and Vodafone, it outlines a number of actions that need to be taken to combat these scams. And the results seem to be overwhelmingly positive.

One provider reported that its intelligent firewall successfully blocked 142 million (wow!) fraud texts, never allowing them to reach potential victims. Another has identified and disabled 60,000 SIM cards that were used for scam texts. A third reduced fraud texts by 97% and managed to cut smishing (phishing, but through SMS) attempts from other networks.

Customers reporting potential scams to the 7726 text service have also been greatly helpful in the initiative. Currently, stats show that user reports have also dropped by 90% — from 500,000 last year, to 50,000 this year, keeping in line with the numbers reported by the carriers.

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


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