The UK mobile industry, banking and finance sector and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have joined forces to prevent criminals from sending scam text messages exploiting the Covid-19 crisis.
The groups have worked with trade bodies the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), Mobile UK and UK Finance to limit the ability of criminals to send scam messages – known as spoofing – using the same sender ID as a particular brand or government department.
MEF has developed a “white list” that allows legitimate organisations to register and protect IDs used when sending out legitimate text messages.
The registry limits the ability of criminals to send messages using the same sender ID as a particular brand or government department, by checking first whether the sender is the genuine registered party.
A blacklist has been established to block messages from sender IDs that have been used to send scam texts, or from unauthorised variations that could be used to impersonate trusted brands and organisations in future.
More than 400 sender IDs have been identified so far on the ever-growing blacklist, including 70 related to Covid-19.
“Banks are joining forces with other industries and law enforcement to protect the public from cruel coronavirus scams,” Katy Worobec, managing director of economic crime at UK Finance, said.
“We would urge consumers to be on their guard against criminals exploiting the Covid-19 outbreak to commit fraud.
“Always follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign and avoid clicking on links in any unsolicited text messages in case it’s a scam.
“Remember you can report suspicious texts by forwarding the original message to 7726, which spells SPAM on your keypad.”