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Telstra doubled the number of blocked scam calls to 13 million in just three months


Telstra has doubled down on its efforts to block more than 13 million scam calls on average per month from reaching customers – that’s now twice as many calls blocked from just three months ago.

This announcement is another milestone in the company’s Cleaner Pipes initiative which is aimed at protecting Telstra customers and Australian consumers from scams and suspicious calls.

Phone scams have resulted in Australians losing $25 million so far this year and that figure is on track to exceed last year’s total of $48 million lost to scam calls.

Telstra says it is blocking far more scam calls than any other Australian telco thanks to a platform built in-house to enable this increased scale on its network.

The platform can monitor the more popular types of scams including “wangiri” or one-ring scams, calls pretending to be from a legitimate service like the Australian taxation office which use a spoofed number or random number entirely.

Narelle Devine, Telstra’s chief information security officer Asia Pacific says the call blocking strategy is more aggressive and can detect more types of scan calls than ever before.

“We’ve made improvements to the way we block “wangiri” scam calls,” she said.

“This is a type of call most of us might be familiar with where you get a call from a random international number that rings once and then stops.

“This is a type of call that scammers used to try and get you to call them back which, if you do, is where the scam begins.

“The international number is typically an expensive premium number and the scammers try to keep you on the line for as long as possible to milk money out of you.”

Devine says Telstra can also block scam calls with numbers that appear to be from a known source but are really not.

This is called spoofing and it is how a scammer can disguise the number they are calling from by changing the caller ID to look like a local number which we all tend to trust more than international numbers.”

Five things to watch out for to protect yourself

  1. Don’t be convinced if it looks like an incoming call is from a legitimate business or government organisation.
  2. Is the caller pressuring you and making it seem like the matter is urgent? Be very suspicious of calls of this nature. Hang up and search online for the official number of the organisation they are calling from and use that number to call back.
  3. Take note of the time of day – is it a reasonable time for a trusted organisation to be calling you? Be suspicious of calls late at night or on weekends.
  4. Is an unknown number or trusted brand trying to call you repeatedly? This is a hallmark of a scam call.
  5. The golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is calling you about an opportunity or about winning a prize (especially one you don’t remember entering!), it’s probably a scam.