Telstra switches on scam SMS filter to protect you from scammers

Credit: Dreamstime: Tero Vesalainen

If you use SMS messaging, there's every chance that at some stage you've received scam messages from nefarious sources trying to dupe you into revealing your financial information. Suffice to say, these messages have proven very difficult to avoid. But now Telstra has switched on a new SMS scam filter that could just about put a stop to your scam messages, as long as you're a customer.  

Telstra says its new technology works by blocking SMS scam texts at the Telstra network level, effectively stopping the scam SMSs from ever reaching Telstra customers' phones. Customers aren't required to do anything, because the technology is automatically applied to their services, whether they happen to be on a consumer or business plan or have an account with another carrier that uses the Telstra network - like Belong.   

The move comes after the Telco acknowledged that scam messages are on the rise on its network. Telstra says there were more than 11,000 reports of scam text messages to Android devices in 2021, compared to just 50 reports in 2020.

Telstra says the spam filter won't block commercial messages from banks, government departments, emergency alerts or other Telstra applications such as MessageBank, but rather just suspicious-looking SMS messages that appear to be phishing for the user's information. 

The Telco says its confident its scam filter will block most scam messages, but says it probably won't be a fool proof solution and that "criminals evolve and find new ways to scam us, so we've all got to continue to be alert for suspicious messages - even the ones that might slip through."   

While most Telstra customers will probably see the benefits of having a scam filter applied, the company is also giving them the option to opt out. If you're a Telstra customer and don't want your SMS messages to be blocked, you can send an SMS to 0438214682 with the words FILTER OFF. Alternatively, to switch the filter back on you can text FILTER ON to the same number. 

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Dominic Bayley

Dominic Bayley

PC World
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