CBA inks intelligence-sharing deal with major telco

SMS scam block vodafone CBA

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) will pilot a real-time intelligence-sharing arrangement with telco Vodafone to help halt SMS scams before they hit customers’ phones.

The pilot will enable Vodaphone to identify and disrupt scammers, while CBA, from the other side, will be able “to proactively investigate and analyse the latest SMS scams in near real-time”.

This capability, CBA’s general manager of group fraud James Roberts said, would ultimately help the bank “disrupt, detect and proactively block fraudulent payments”.

“By collaborating closely with Vodafone, we’re focused on helping to minimise financial harm associated with the ever-evolving threat of SMS scams,” Roberts said.

“There is much more to do and taking a collaborative and cross-industry approach is essential,” he added.

Simone Sant, general counsel and general manager corporate security at Vodafone, welcomed the intelligence-sharing collaboration with an “industry leader” like CBA.

She noted that in 2023 alone, the telco has blocked more the 67.8 million SMS scams from reaching Australian customers.

“Our analysis shows fraudsters are scheming up new ways to scam customers out of their hard-earned cash in the lead up to the holidays season with Vodafone blocking more than 17.6 million SMS scams in September and October, a 45 per cent year-on-year increase,” Sant said.

She added that Vodafone has been active in drawing together cross-industry partners to tackle scams, establishing in 2020 an industry fraud forum which brings together banks, telcos, postal services, law enforcement and regulators to collaboratively combat scams.

Vodafone, part of the TPG Telecom Group following a 2020 merger, counts around 4.1 million mobile customers (including pre- and post-paid contracts) in Australia as of June this year, representing around one in eight mobile connections in the country.

This latest agreement with Vodaphone follows the announcement last month of CBA’s involvement, alongside Australia’s other commercial and mutual banks, in a new anti-scam Accord.