CBA, Vodafone announce pilot program to combat SMS scams

The pilot will identify and disrupt scammers as well as block suspected fraud payments

CBA, Vodafone announce pilot program to combat SMS scams

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Vodafone have announced a new intelligence-sharing pilot program to help in protecting their consumers from SMS scams.

According to a press release, the pilot program will have both Vodafone and CBA share an SMS scam-related intelligence in near real-time. It will allow the identification and disruption of scammers as well as the implementation of blocks on payments suspected of fraud.

“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,” said James Roberts (pictured), general manager of group fraud at CBA.

“Keeping Australians safe and secure is a key priority at Vodafone,” said Simone Sant, general counsel and general manager for corporate security at Vodafone. “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.”

The announcement came as the statistics from Australia’s National Anti-Scam Centre in November 2023 showed that text messages were the most popular delivery method used by fraudsters this year, with more than $24.5 million being lost in 2023 so far.

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

“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.”

Roberts said that with the festive season coming about, there was an uptick in attempted and successful scams which is why he recommended that people need to remain alert for potential scams such as those delivered through SMS imitating major courier or postal companies.

Vodafone has reportedly blocked more than 67.8 million SMS scams while CBA has invested $750 million to help protect their consumers from cybersecurity threats, financial crime, fraud, and scams.

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

The collaboration built on recent announcements from CBA that aimed to help in protecting customers from scams.

“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,” said Roberts.