Maybe it’s just me but there seems to be a lot of scam text messages being sent out these days and although I have never fallen for one most of us know someone who has. Telstra are looking to prevent these scam text messages from reaching you by rolling out a new filter to block them at a network level.
Scam text messages are usually attempts to steal your personal information, hack your internet banking and infect your contact lists. Telstra has noticed that the number of scam text messages on their network has grown in recent years with more than 11,000 reports of malicious texts to Android devices in 2021 compared to just 50 in 2020.
The new filter rolled out by Telstra will find and block SMS scam messages with suspicious links before they reach your mobile device. In testing over the last three months and 2,500 users, the new filter allowed Telstra to detect and block “hundreds of scam SMS messages every day.” The new filter performed so well that Telstra has almost immediately rolled it out to their network, along with other providers that use the Telstra network such as Belong.
As a user there’s nothing you need to do as it is all done by Telstra at the network level. To avoid blocking legitimate messages a new message format may be reviewed by their specialists to identify if the message is a scam while at the same time keeping details of the recipient “masked”. Commercial messages from “banks and other large businesses, government departments, Emergency Alerts and Telstra applications like MessageBank” will not be blocked by the filter.
While Telstra is confident in the ability of its new filter it isn’t “fool-proof” so there is still some onus on the end user to be aware and able to spot and protect themselves from scam texts. To learn more on what to look for head on over to www.scamwatch.gov.au. If you are concerned about legitimate messages to you being blocked or would just rather not have it you can opt out by sending an SMS to 0438214682 with the words FILTER OFF. Sending FILTER ON to the same number will turn it back on for you.
It is great to see Telstra rolling out this new scam text message filter at the network level but as always everyone should still remain vigilant themselves and keep an eye out for possible scam messages.