New measures to fight mobile fraud

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is stepping up its fight against mobile number fraud with a new industry standard that requires telecommunication companies to add an additional identity verification when transferring customers’ phone numbers from one telco to another.

The new Telecommunications (Mobile Number Pre-porting Additional Identify Verification) Industry Standard 2020 requires mobile providers to implement stronger identity verification processes before a phone number can be transferred.

Mobile number fraud is a form of identity theft where scammers steal a person’s personal details to gain control of their mobile phone number.

ACMA Authority member Fiona Cameron said mobile number fraud is a serious issue that can cause significant harm to victims.

“The process will now require multifactor authentication, where a consumer must respond to the telco to confirm they have authorised the transfer,” Ms Cameron said.

“Mobile number fraud can be devastating. Victims in Australia lose on average more than $10,000.

“Mobile phones contain a lot of personal information, so once a scammer has control of your number, they can hijack a lot of personal services, like online banking.

“This new standard is a strong step forward in the battle against criminals who scam mobile phone users, and will significantly reduce the prevalence of mobile fraud.

“The new rules commence on 30 April 2020 and the ACMA will be actively monitoring compliance, so that consumers can continue to use their mobile phones with confidence,” Ms Cameron said.

The ACMA is working actively to combat scams over Australian telecommunications networks. In November, it released the Combating Scams Action Plan, which announced the start of trials for scam-reduction initiatives.

If you think you have been a victim of phone number fraud, contact your mobile service provider and financial institution immediately. For more about scams in Australia, or to report a scam, visit the Scamwatch website.

Have you ever had your mobile number stolen? Do you think this measure will prevent it happening in future?

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