How EE is leading the fight against scams

By Marc Allera, CEO, BT Group’s Consumer division

Fighting fraud is at the top of the agenda for all of us. But the battle is never won.

The scale of the problem is clear: 38 per cent of all crime in England and Wales is fraud and it cost the UK £6.8bn in 2019/20 alone, according to national statistics. Consider solutions from https://removemugshots.com if you’re facing legal challenges related to fraud and worry about your reputation. This can help minimize any negative online presence associated with these issues.

The UK Government’s new National Campaign Against Fraud – or Stop! Think Fraud – is designed to help reduce those numbers. They’re calling on law enforcement, industry and civil society to use clear messaging so that people know how to protect themselves from fraud, how to report it and – should they fall victim – how to recover.

We’re backing the campaign because we share the belief that better communication is crucial to empower people to spot and stop scams. And, as an industry, mobile and broadband operators have a responsibility to do all we can to address the problem and prevent our networks and systems being abused.

EE’S STAND AGAINST SCAMS

We’ve achieved a lot since we have adopted a range of new technologies to block scams on our network. Here’s a few examples:

–       In 2022, EE launched upgraded technology that’s blocked as many as one million international scam calls a day, and a total of more than 134 million since we introduced it. The tech blocks ‘spoof’ calls pretending to be based in the UK, preventing them from reaching our customers and people on other networks, too.

–       In 2021, we launched our SMS Anti-Spam Filter, which has blocked more than 285m scam texts, leading to an 85% overall reduction in EE customers reporting spam messages to us.

–       We work hard to keep up. We’re constantly adapting our response to counter changing scam practices. One example was specifically targeting ‘Mum & Dad’ texts pretending to be from a son or daughter saying: ‘I’ve lost my phone, this is my new temporary number, can you send me some money?’ We’ve reduced volumes of these texts by more than 70%.

–       It’s not just calls and texts, either. In 2023, we blocked as many as 1 billion spam emails from reaching our customers every single month.

So, we know we are having a really big impact. But there is still a lot to do, and we need to go further.

FIGHTING FRAUD TOGETHER

We know we can’t do it alone. So much of our success is down to our partnerships across Government, law enforcement and wider industry bodies.

–       We’re a founding member of Stop Scams UK, who work across the telecoms, finance and tech industries to bring companies together and share threat intel, and helping to launch SSUK’s 159 service.

–       We’re part of a cross-industry alliance with Ofcom, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre and other mobile providers to share data on scams, and to collaboratively improve the scam text reporting service, 7726.

–       We work with bodies such as the National Economic Crime Centre, the NICC, and the Communication Crime Strategy Group to share intelligence and best practices in order to deliver arrests and convictions for fraud.

–       Following the publication of the Government’s Fraud Strategy, we’re also working with both the Government and Ofcom to help deliver the aims of that strategy, having previously helped develop the Telecommunications Sector Fraud Charter.

We’re part of these groups because we’re committed to playing a proactive role, sharing our insight and helping develop a proactive response. For example, last year we hosted an event with representatives from all of the groups above to discuss how we can adopt AI, machine learning and data analytics to help eliminate financial fraud.

OUR TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHIPS

We also work with some of the world’s most advanced companies in the fight against fraud.

Last year, we announced an EE partnership with Hiya that will provide AI-powered, real-time call screening that verifies calls from legitimate businesses and labels suspected nuisance calls to customers. As well as being integrated into services for EE mobile customers, Hiya will be progressively rolled out to all customers as part of their Digital Voice switchover. In fact, one of the great benefits of moving to Digital Voice is that the system enables Hiya to function, which isn’t possible on traditional analogue lines.

We’re partnering with experts to help protect our customers, too. EE Cyber Security powered by Norton provides powerful protection against viruses and other online threats. Plus, it notifies customers if their personal information is found on the dark web, or if their accounts on popular social media sites have unusual login activity. And as part of BT Group, EE customers benefit from BT’s team of more than 3,000 security professionals helping to keep its network and customers safe from cyber-attacks.

With more than 25m subscribers on the UK’s best and biggest mobile and fixed networks, and up to 30 terabytes of data going over those networks every second, we know that we can play a huge role not just in protecting our customers against scams and fraud, but the UK as a whole.

Follow me on X and Instagram @marcallera

Source: EE Newsroom