Rise in SMS spam a key theme at UCENet Virtual Conference 2023

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A significant rise in SMS scams, or ‘smishing’, was a key theme noted by multiple countries at the 2023 UCENet Virtual Conference.

In support of an international approach to tackling harms from spam and scams, the annual conference gives UCENet members the chance to share key enforcement priorities, operations, and strategies that their country or stakeholders are focused on to combat scam communications.

Discussions this year centred on the prevention of the significant social and financial harms that people experience globally as a result of falling victim to a scam or spam containing a bad link.

Trends in ‘robocalling’ (a phone call that uses a computerised auto-dialler to deliver a pre-recorded message), was a key theme from 2022/23, along with brand phishing – scam emails that impersonate genuine brands, smishing, advances in spam reporting tools, eSIM fraud, and FluBot.

In addition to reports of SMS scams, some countries noted an increase in reports of mobile malware; software which can steal the device owner’s credentials and personal information.

The conference was held virtually and was hosted this year by New Zealand. 2024 should see a return to an in-person conference, as with previous years.

The UCENet Executive will meet in June 2023 alongside M3AAWG’s 58th General Meeting in Dublin, Ireland.  The Committee will revisit current priorities and develop a strategic focus for the next three years. These outcomes will be shared with the wider network following the event. 

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