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Three UK blocks 173 million spam texts in anti-fraud drive

Three UK has blocked more than 173 million spam texts, equivalent to 10,000 every hour of the day, in the last two years, as part of its efforts to protect its customers from rising online fraud. The progress follows Three becoming the first UK operator to integrate blocking technology from Mavenir, in its network in 2019, which ensures that many malicious messages fail to reach customers.

During summer 2023, Ofcom reported that eight in ten people experienced some form of phone scam and as technology continues to advance, so do the methods used by scammers to exploit unsuspecting individuals. Mavenir uses AI to automatically filter and detect messages but as fraudsters constantly adapt their methods, it does not block every message. In addition, 72,000 calls have been reported to 7726, a free spam-reporting service.

Darren Purkis, Chief Financial Officer at Three UK said, “The battle against fraud is a constantly evolving one with scammers using increasingly sophisticated methods to defraud people. Blocking these messages represents significant progress in our fight against online criminals and we will continue to invest in people and technology to fight this rapidly evolving problem.”

To further protect customers, Three UK has also sent out millions of messages and alerts to its customers to warn them of the latest scams and provide advice on how to protect themselves, as well as introduced one-click SPAM reporting for Android devices, streamlining and enhancing reporting options for its customers.

Recent trends of messaging scams
Banking scams are where scammers send text messages or emails pretending to be from a bank. The messages claim that the recipient’s debit card or account has been blocked and provides a phone number to call for assistance. However, the phone number leads to a fraudulent call centre run by scammers.

How can you prevent this? If you receive unexpected phone calls, especially those related to financial matters, hang up and wait for a few minutes. Then, call your bank directly using the official number provided on their website or the back of your bank card. This helps you avoid falling for fraudulent calls

Delivery scams are when an SMS that purports to be in regard to something you’ve ordered. The text messages pretend to be from a reputable shipping company and contain a link for the recipient to “track their parcel”. These links will send you to a dodgy website or app, which is part of a malicious form of scam.

How can you prevent this? If you receive suspicious email, text or phone messages, go to the delivery carrier’s website directly or use the retailer’s tracking tools to verify the sender’s identity and avoid these scams.

Hi mum, hi dad type scams are where perpetrators send an SMS message, posing as a friend or family member who has either lost their phone or got a new number. The scammers then claim to be locked out of their online banking system and ask the victim to send money.

How can you prevent this? You should call your family member or contact them through social media to confirm the message. Avoid engaging with the scammer and never send any personal information or money unless you have verified their identity.

CT Bureau

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