ICO and mobile networks join forces to cut spam text messages
EE, O2, Three, Vodafone have all signed up to the scheme that will rely on consumers reporting spam texts
Four of the major UK mobile networks have signed up to cut spam text messages with the help of the GSMA.
EE, O2, Three, Vodafone will work alongside data protection watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to encourage customers to report any spam messages they receive.
The solution, powered by Cloudmark, allows consumers to report unsolicited text messages by forwarding them to 7726, or 'SPAM'.
The initiative is part of the GSMA's Spam Reporting Service, which aims to cut down spam messaging around the world.
John Hoffman, CEO of the GSMA, said: "The GSMA Spam Reporting Service provides operators with a tool to measure the extent of fraud and phishing and provides the insight needed to address sophisticated messaging threats that could harm users.
"By working closely with the ICO, the UK's operators are making it more difficult for spammers and fraudsters to target mobile phone users in this country."
Steve Eckersley, Head of Enforcement at the ICO, explained the scheme will provide his organisation with real-time information about spam attacks, allowing the organisation to track down and deal with repeat offenders more effectively.
If a company is found to be breaching the Privacy of Electronic Communication Regulations (PECR), they can be fined by the ICO.
Last year, a number of companies breaching PECR were fined for bombarding mobile phone users with text messages.
One Payday loan lender was served a 175,000 penalty for sending texts encouraging unsuspecting victims to sign up to high-interest loans. In this instance, the ICO received more than 4,000 complaints from people who were sent the messages.
Increasingly, companies are targeting consumers with low credit scores in the hope they will sign up to a payday loan or a better deal on a phone contract.
Neil Cook, chief technology officer at CloudMark, said these vulnerable people were increasingly targeted because they have inadvertently signed up to other services.
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