New SMS firewall helps Vodafone reduce scam texts by three quarters

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Vodafone says the volume of fraudulent text messages received by its customers last month was 76% lower than it was six months ago thanks to the installation of a new SMS firewall.

The operator reviewed its security measures at the end of August 2021, hoping to protect consumers from a rise in fake messages that pose as genuine communications from delivery companies, banks, and even the National Health Service (NHS).

These messages hope to trick people into tapping malicious links or share personal details that can be used to steal money or commit identify fraud.

SMS scam reduction

The busy Christmas shopping season, coupled with a desire for information about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine rollout would have meant December would have been a prime time for scammers.

However Vodafone says it has blocked more than 45 million fraudulent texts and also blocks 675,000 suspicious calls every day. Its SMS firewall works by assessing the sender, the intended recipient, and a variety of other data to identify and block messages in real time.

The company has also made it easier for Android users to report messages, while other customers can report suspect texts to 7726.

“We can all fall for a fraudulent message, which is why we continue to work really hard to beat the scams and prevent them from getting through,” said Ross Doherty, UK senior fraud manager at Vodafone.

“The December figures are really encouraging, but fraudsters continue to find new ways to attempt to scam customers into sharing personal and financial information. So, we continue to ask our customers to remain vigilant and report any suspicious text activity to us at 7726.

“This will help ensure we continue to keep one step ahead of the scams.”

Many operators are around the world are installing new firewall systems enhanced by Artificial Intelligence (AI) to combat the threat of scam texts which cost legitimate businesses and individuals billions. 

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.