Last year scams were estimated to have cost Australians nearly $48million with many of these originating via phone calls. Telstra have today highlighted what they are doing to limit these scam calls from reaching their customers, sometimes up to 500,000 calls a day.

Today Telstra have announced the third element of their Cleaner Pipes initiative which is focused on preventing scam calls to Telstra customers. The third element is changing what was a manual process of preventing scam calls into an automated process. With the blocking of, on average, 1.5m scam calls a week and 6.5million per month, automation is required to keep up with that sheer volume.

The Cleaner Pipes initiative works not just on scam calls but more specifically to reduce the harm of Phishing, malware, ransomware and other scams across the entire Telstra network. They have also included a pilot program to block illegitimate SMS messages pretending to be from Services Australia.

The third element with its automation uses a “smart platform” to enable Telstra to monitor inbound calls on their network that have suspicious characteristics, blocking them before they reach the customer. Some of the more popular scams they are seeing are “one-ring” scams and spoofed number calls pretending to be a legitimate service such as the ATO.

The automated platform was developed in-house by Telstra and is now part of a collaborative industry approach introduced by the telecommunications industry and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) — more information on that can be found here. Although their platform is evolving and effective, Telstra do stress that no technology platform will ever stop 100% of scam calls and as such customers should always remain vigilant.

Their recommendations are to not act quickly and to think critically about any phone calls or scams. For example, businesses such as Telstra will only call between the hours of 9am and 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am and 3pm on Saturday.

The new element of Telstra’s Cleaner Pipes initiative brings even more protection to Telstra’s customers and hopefully eventually all Australian Telco customers. In the end though remember that not all protections are 100% and use your brain and think carefully about any phone calls before acting on them.