Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

Telecommunications companies will soon be able to block fraudulent text messages from being sent in the first place, thanks to legislative changes by the government.

An increase in malicious text messages in recent months has been described as a “tsunami”, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) receiving tens of thousands of reports of fraud.

Australians have lost more than $ 87 million on fraud this year.

After intervening to block more than 200 million fraudulent phone calls purporting to be from public authorities, the federal government is now paving the way for making it easier for telecommunications companies to block malicious text messages at their source.

“[In] a further step to deal with the problem of fraudulent texts… what we again want to do is to ensure that telecommunications companies have the power to use their technologies to identify and block these texts before customers even realize they are there, “says Minister of Communications Paul Fletcher.

“The fact is that we are dealing with organized criminals, mostly located abroad, who pump out calls and text messages.

“They use technology. We need technology to fight what they’re doing.”

Telstra CEO Andy Penn said the technology included algorithms and artificial intelligence.

“We are already blocking hundreds of thousands of [text messages],” he said.

“That’s the name of the game.”

Many of the scam messages received by Australians claim to be unopened voicemail messages with a link to download “voicemail”.

Sir. Penn said the large amount of messages sent around the country meant that fraud detection could only be done using technology.

“As you can imagine, there are billions, if not trillions, of transactions and [text messages] and calls that go across telecommunications networks every year, and what we need to do is try to figure it out and identify those who are malicious and block them at their source, “he said.

“It can not be done manually. We need computer technology, we need artificial intelligence.”

Labor recently urged telecommunications companies as well as banks and retailers to change how they communicated with customers so that it was clear when they were sending legitimate messages or making legal calls.

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