ACMA warns Telstra, Optus and Medion Mobile about lax identity

Australian Communications and Media Authority

Credit: ACMA

The Australian media watchdog has issued a warning to Telstra, Optus and Medion Mobile for failing to verify the identity of customers during number transfer.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that by mid-2020, the three telecommunications companies had failed to properly verify people’s identities before transferring their mobile numbers from other telecommunications operators.

Telstra has broken identity verification rules at least 52 times and Medion Mobile 53 times, while Optus has only done so once.

Any other violation could see telecommunications operators incur civil penalties of up to $ 250,000.

“Historically, it was too easy to transfer phone numbers from one operator to another. All a scammer needed to hijack a cell phone number and gain access to personal information such as bank details was a name, address and date of birth, ”said ACMA President Nerida O ‘ Loughlin.

“These new rules help prevent crooks from taking over people’s identities to commit serious financial crimes. We are cracking down on telecom operators who break the rules and expose customers to identity theft. ”

According to the watchdog, customers lose on average more than $ 10,000 due to identity theft due to mobile number fraud and may struggle to regain control of their identity for long periods of time.

However, under new rules introduced in early 2020, carriers must put in place more rigorous customer verification processes, such as multi-factor or in-person identification.

Since the new rules came into effect, fraud reports have dropped dramatically, according to ACMA. Some carriers have found that fraudulent porting has ceased altogether, while others have reported a drop of more than 90%, he added.

“It is important that telecom operators remain vigilant in protecting their customers through these verification processes,” said O’Loughlin.

“The privacy of our customers is extremely important and we are working hard to protect it,” said a spokesperson for Telstra.

“We are big supporters of the new rules that ACMA put in place last year. Unfortunately, when these rules first came into effect, we didn’t have all of our processes in place to implement some of the changes as quickly as we should have. This means that in a small number of cases we have let customers down and apologize to anyone involved.

“We have since implemented these new processes and seen a dramatic reduction in fraudulent transfers.”

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Tags TelstraoptusACMAMedion Mobile

About Geraldine Higgins

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