Optus has partnered with the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) and banks to launch a new service called Call Stop to protect customers from SMS scams.
Scams are already costing Australians billions of dollars and this new initiative will weed out scammers and protect unsuspecting victims.
Call Stop’s main focus is call back scams where customers receive an email or text message saying there’s an issue with their bank account and that unauthorised payments are being made.
This scheme usually involves the person calling the bank or institution on the number provided.
This number is actually a direct line to a scammer impersonating the bank who tries to trick the victim into offering access to their account and transferring money into another account usually controlled by the criminal.
Call Stop will prevent Optus customers calling numbers which have been identified as being used by scammers and instead direct them to an automated message warning them of the scam.
The voice message will say: “The number you have called has been reported as being used for scam activities. For more information, please visit optus.com.au/callstop.”
That number will then be blocked to prevent the customer from becoming a victim.
It will also demonstrate the message was indeed a scam and that no further action needs to be taken.
Call Stop was created in collaboration with the AFCX another major Australian banks to help reduce the number of financial scams.
The financial sector has a long index of phone numbers that have been identified by banks and their customers as belonging to scammers.
“We are always updating our technology and looking for new ways to fight off scams across the country,” says Optus Vice President, Regulatory and 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.”
Optus has blocked 320 million scam calls since December 2020 an almost 80 million scam text messages.
The company is also blocking nearly five million calls and 10 million scam SMSs per month.
“Call and text scams are the cause of significant financial loss an emotional distress to many Australians,” says David Pegley, Managing Director AFCX.
“These types of scams are on the rise in 2023 and criminals are using more and more sophisticated methods to catch people out.
“Our collaboration with Optus, with the support of our banking members, uses innovative technology to better protect consumers being targeted by scammers.
“It’s hoped that initiatives like call stop will curb the acceleration of this scamming technique.”