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Vodafone and Commonwealth Bank form intelligence partnership to combat SMS scams

Vodafone and the Commonwealth Bank have formed a new intelligence partnership to protect their customers from the growing number of SMS scams.

This pilot programme will see Vodafone and CBA sharing any SMS scam-related intelligence in almost real time.

Vodafone will be able to identify and disrupt the scammers while the Commonwealth Bank could potentially implement proactive blocks on suspected fraudulent payments.

As we head into the festive season James Roberts, general manager of group fraud at CBA, says there are even greater risks at this time of the year.

“Our latest data shows that fraudulent text and email messages are the number one scam trend impacting our customers,” Roberts says.

“This phenomenon, otherwise known as ‘phishing’, involves fraudsters tricking unsuspecting customers to click on an embedded link and share their online banking and card details, as well as personal information.

“Not only are scammers becoming increasingly sophisticated, but we tend to see an uptick in attempted and successful scams at certain times of the year, such as the festive season.

“With this heightened risk, we recommend people remain alert for potential scams, including those delivered via SMS with messages imitating major courier or postal companies.

“This pilot and timely intelligence sharing between CommBank and Vodafone allows us to proactively investigate and analyse the latest SMS scams in near real-time to ultimately help disrupt, detect and proactively block fraudulent payments.”

This partnership comes at a time when stats show text messages are the most popular way for cyber criminals to target potential victims.

This year more than $24.5 million has been lost to these types of scams already.

“Keeping Australians safe and secure is a key priority at Vodafone. It is the reason why in 2020 Vodafone set up a cross-industry fraud forum, which still meets regularly today,” says Simone Sant, General Counsel and General Manager Corporate Security at Vodafone.

“This forum brings together banks, telcos, postal services, law enforcement and

regulators to work together to combat scams.

“Working with industry leaders like Commonwealth Bank allows us to share information and resources to help protect our customers and empower thousands of Australians to hang up on scammers.”

Safety and security are the CBA’s highest priority says Mr. Roberts.

“We encourage people to remain cautious and to stop, check and reject. If you think you have been a victim of a fraud or scam, contact your bank immediately,” he says.

Vodafone has blocked more than 67.8 million SMS scams from reaching its customers in Australia, but cybercriminals are always on the lookout to find new ways scam innocent people out of their hard earned money.

As we approach Christmas Vodafone has blocked more than 17.6 million SMS scams in September and October alone – that’s a 45 per cent year on year increase.

Meanwhile CBA has invested more than $750m to protect and defend customers from cyber security threats another fraud and scams.

“By collaborating closely with Vodafone, we’re focused on helping to minimise financial harm associated with the ever-evolving threat of SMS scams.

“There is much more to do and taking a collaborative and cross-industry approach is essential,” Mr Roberts added.

The collaboration between CBA and Vodafone builds on a suite of recent announcements from CBA aimed at helping protect customers from scams, including:

– National rollout of Scam Indicator – technology which was conceived and developed in partnership with Quantium Telstra to help protect joint Telstra and CBA customers

– Partnership with Optus’ Call Stop campaign

– Extending industry-leading NameCheck technology to other organisations who process payments

– Introducing holds, declines and limits on payments to cryptocurrency exchanges

–  In-app caller verification CallerCheck technology to give customers peace of mind CBA is genuinely calling them

Tips to stay safe:

  1. Stop – does a call, email or text seem off? The best thing to do is stop. Take a breath. Real organisations won’t put you under pressure to act instantly.
  1. Check – ask someone you trust or contact the organisation the message claims to be from.
  2. Reject – if you’re unsure, delete the email or text and block the phone number. Change your passwords.

Additional information:

– We’ll never send an email or SMS asking for banking information like a NetBank Client ID, password, or NetCode; or include a link to login directly from an email or SMS

– If you’re ever unsure whether an email, message or phone call is legitimately from CommBank, please message us in the CommBank app, or visit us in a branch so we can assist you

– If someone calls you and claims to be from CommBank, you can ask them to verify their identity in the app using Callercheck

– To be safe, always navigate directly to NetBank yourself and log on from the site you know to be legitimate, rather than using any links in communications.

–  You can report suspicious emails or texts to then delete them straight after. Don’t reply or engage with them.