There always seem to be new phone scams popping up, trying to trick you into providing your personal or bank information. Optus has taken a step further in trying to prevent this by introducing an initiative named Call Stop.
Optus has partnered with major banks and the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) to curb SMS scams with its new initiative, which is aimed at helping people protect their sensitive information from SMS and email scams, and preventing customers from calling numbers that have been identified as part of a scam. The initiative works to identify the scammer’s number and stop them in their tracks when trying to reach an unsuspecting victim.
The main scam Optus is trying to combat is the call-back scam, where customers will receive an email or SMS from a scammer impersonating their bank. Fraudsters will claim there has been an unauthorised payment made with the victim’s account or their account has been accessed without their permission, and they need to call the number provided to dispute the payment.
Consumers are then tricked into calling the number and providing their account details under the false pretence they are talking to a trustworthy representative of their bank. They might also be tricked into transferring their money into an account controlled by the scammer.
The Call Stop initiative prevents Optus customers from calling a number that has been flagged as part of a scam. Instead of connecting the customer to the fraudster, they are forwarded to an automated message alerting them about the call-back scam.
According to data reported to EFTM, Optus has blocked more than 65 million scam SMS messages in the last year. As part of the new initiative, they are blocking around 5 million incoming calls and 10 million SMS messages per month.
“We are always updating our technology and looking for new ways to fight off scams across the country,” says Optus Vice President, Regulatory & Public Affairs, Andrew Sheridan.
“Call Stop is our latest weapon in this battle and protects customers when they have been tricked into ringing a scam number. The automated message very clearly exposes the scam, and the number is then blocked.”
The initiative isn’t a 100% scam-blocking guarantee, but it's a strong start in helping to protect vulnerable Australians from fraudulent email and SMS messages.