Wednesday, 06 February 2019 13:15

Telcos need to ‘raise the bar’ on consumer safeguards: ACCAN Featured

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ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There has been a call for Australia’s telecommunications companies to raise the bar for consumer identity verification and increase consumer safeguards.

The chief executive of telecommunications consumer interest lobby group Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, Teresa Cobin, says that as consumers increasingly move their lives online, it is vital that telcos and technology companies are putting “appropriate protections in place to prevent Australians from falling victim to dishonest practices”.

Corbin’s comments follow Wednesday’s latest report from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman that Australian consumers are reporting having their bank accounts drained by fraudsters and their email inboxes accessed in the latest scam involving theft of mobile numbers.

According to the TIO Systemic Spotlight report — Reducing fraudsters’ theft of mobile numbers — fraudsters steal a consumer’s mobile number by convincing the mobile service provider to switch the number to a new SIM card in the fraudster’s possession (known as “SIM swaps”).

“Mobile phone numbers are increasingly being used as an additional security step to verify identity when it comes to important accounts such as banking and email, so it’s important to make sure your number is protected,” said Corbin.

“Check your social media accounts to make sure that your mobile number isn’t publicly available and ask your mobile provider to set up a secret pin number or password that only you know, to identify yourself when you call them or deal with them in person,” Corbin advised.

ACCAN welcomed the news that the TIO has been working with telcos to introduce new security procedures, such as two-factor authentication, in an effort to combat fraudulent mobile number and identity theft.

“As consumers increasingly move their lives online, it is vital that our telcos and technology companies are putting appropriate protections in place to prevent Australians from falling victim to dishonest practices,” Corbin said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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