EE blocks more than 280 million spam texts in two years

More than 280 million spam texts have been blocked from reaching EE, BT and Plusnet customers since 2021, and a further 105 million international scam calls have been blocked since last year, the mobile network has said.

In the wake of the influx of attempted scams, EE has announced plans to roll out more advanced technology across its network to help keep customers safe.

The mobile operator said that over the coming weeks and months, it will start rolling out several new tools, including new AI technology that will work to identify and clearly label scam calls.

It will also expand a blocking system to root out messages which use special characters to avoid existing scam detection and update existing AI tech to help detect the common “Hi Mum, Hi Dad” scam messages.

The company blocks spam text messages by analysing patterns of content as they reach the EE network, while using its AI systems to find scam calls from international locations that pose as being UK-based numbers in order to look more legitimate – with the aim of fraudulently acquiring personal information from the people they target.

Jonny Bunt, director of regulatory affairs for consumer division at EE’s parent company the BT Group, said: “The number of scams we’re managing to block on our network while impressive, is alarming at the same time.

“With the planned updates to our network technology, and through closely working with Ofcom, we’re helping take the fight to the scammers and target the most common tactics and trends to keep our customers safe.

“We’re now also calling on the wider industry to increase their investment in technology to help block scams from reaching consumers and ensure bad actors are no longer able to profit from innocent, honest people answering a call from a trusted number or a believable-looking message.”

As part of its scam prevention update, EE also said it is launching a new customer identification scheme throughout its retail stores in the UK which will carry out ID checks using in-store tablets or a customer’s mobile number combined with biometric verification to register new customers in order to prevent numbers being provided to scammers.