Joining forces to tackle fraudsters

By Sergio Budkin, Director of Business Products and Propositions 

As people around the world unite in the face of COVID-19, there are unfortunately those that seek to take advantage of a crisis by scamming consumers. At O2 we take the safety and security of our customers extremely seriously, and our Fraud & Security Team publish a wealth of information online for customers to read and help keep themselves safe.

However, fraudsters continue to try and exploit people, which is why today’s announcement that UK industries are joining forces to prevent fraudsters from sending scam text messages is particularly welcome news.

The collaboration of the UK mobile, banking and finance industries is part of an initiative by Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), Mobile UK and UK Finance. Working with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the ongoing initiative will help identify and block fraudulent SMS messages, while protecting texts from legitimate organisations.

At O2 we are committed to building a safer mobile environment for UK consumers. We are also champions of collaborative approaches, knowing they can be the key to unlocking benefits for customers at scale and speed.

Now more than ever, collaboration for good is critical, as mass mobile communication becomes a vital tool in relaying critical information to the public.  Text messaging scams are when criminals send bogus texts which appear to come from a known sender. The messages often contain fraudulent links or phone numbers, designed to trick the victim into revealing personal and financial information or sending money. By working to block fraudulent SMS texts and protect messages from legitimate businesses and organisations, customers can be reassured the message they’ve received is genuine.

That’s why we didn’t think twice about approaching operators and regulators back in 2018 to initiate this cross-working group.  Since the moment of its inception, we’ve been proud to be a driving force in the initiative, pushing forward the vision and thinking behind the measures and their presentation to Ofcom. It’s great to see that pay-off today as we go public with the news of another cross-industry collaboration that puts the protection of customers first.

However, consumers must of course remain vigilant. If you’d like more information or advice, our Fraud and Security pages on Phishing contain lots of helpful information, and we recommend people follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign.

-ENDS-