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Stay scam-free: O2’s new caller ID tech shields you from fraud

Budgeting & Saving
Stay scam-free: O2’s new caller ID tech shields you from fraud

Millions of O2 customers will soon benefit from a new feature called Brand ID, designed to give more confidence and certainty about who is calling.

This free service will help reduce the number of calls from unknown numbers by providing details of the organisation making the call.

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How does Brand ID work?

Powered by Hiya, a leader in voice security, Brand ID aims to give customers greater peace of mind when answering calls.

This technology acts as an anti-fraud filter, displaying caller information only after verifying the company’s identity.

Does anyone else not bother answering the phone because it’s a scammer from “02” offering 30% off?! But then, I had a genuine call from a provider the other day, but I was so wary about giving them any information, as I’m so used to them being dodgy.

It’s definitely not just me. This feature is really handy as research from Hiya shows that nearly half (46%) of unidentified calls are ignored, and 92% of people suspect these calls to be fraudulent.

Rolling out the feature

Brand ID will be automatically rolled out to millions of O2’s consumer pay-monthly and business customers in the coming months, starting with those using Android smartphones.

The technology will also be available to mobile operators that use O2’s network, such as Tesco Mobile.

So far, around 150 UK businesses, including major banks and insurers, have signed up for the service.

They’re free

With scammers using new tech and tactics, it’s getting harder to spot nuisance and fraudulent calls.

To help protect your time, money, and peace of mind, O2 is introducing these services at no extra cost:

  • Brand ID: Shows the name of a genuine business calling you on your screen, helping you identify legitimate calls.
  • Call Defence: Checks phone numbers to let you know if a call might be a scam or spam. This feature gives you the option to decide whether to answer.

If you’re on a Pay Monthly custom plan, SIM Only plan, or with O2 Business, you’ll start seeing Brand ID labelling from June 2024 if you use an Android smartphone and from September 2024 if you use an Apple smartphone.

While not all calls will be labelled, these features will significantly reduce the risk of falling for scam calls.

Murray Mackenzie, Director of Fraud at Virgin Media O2, said:

“As part of our relentless efforts to stop the scammers, we’re rolling out next-generation caller ID to provide our customers with reliable information about who is calling before they even pick up the phone. By giving them confidence in who is calling and why, customers will be better able to spot fraudulent call attempts and ensure they’re only speaking to people and organisations they want to.”

Kush Parikh, President of Hiya, added:

“O2 is leading the way in revitalising the value of the mobile phone call experience. Offering a free anti-scam solution is the response that every carrier in Europe should be taking, as it is the only way to ensure that all subscribers are protected without leaving coverage gaps that fraudsters can exploit. We are proud to partner with O2 for call protection and branded calling across the UK.”

Real-life benefits

When you get a call from your bank to discuss a recent transaction, with Brand ID, you can see that the call is genuinely from your bank before you even answer.

This helps you avoid scam calls that might otherwise trick you into revealing personal information.

You will see the caller’s name or logo on your screen, adding an extra layer of security and reassurance.

O2’s ongoing commitment to fraud protection

This new tool is part of O2’s investment in recent years to keep customers safe from fraud.

Their AI-powered spam text detection technology prevented more than 89 million fraudulent texts from reaching customers in 2023 alone.

Later this year, O2 will also introduce Call Defence, another free AI-powered tool to help protect mobile customers from fraud.

Hiya’s Adaptive AI system will analyse call behaviour to determine if a call is a scam or spam and label it accordingly.

Tips to stay safe from scam calls

  • Don’t share personal information: Be cautious about sharing personal details over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the call.
  • Use call blocking features: Take advantage of call blocking and identification features provided by your mobile carrier.
  • Report suspicious calls and texts: Forward scam texts to 7726 (which spells SPAM) to help O2 investigate and block fraudsters.
phone keypad showing that 7762 spells out SPAMphone keypad showing that 7762 spells out SPAM

Telephone Preference Services (TPS)

Getting lots of unwanted calls and texts can be annoying and worrying. Register your mobile number via TPS to reduce unsolicited sales and marketing calls. Text TPS with your email address to 85095 or register online.

If you still receive calls after 28 days, raise a complaint with TPS or email [email protected] with your mobile number and the number(s) calling you, and we’ll notify the regulators.

Missed calls

If you get a missed call from a number you don’t know, think twice before calling back, as you might be charged. Report these calls to [email protected].

Spam texts

Forward spam texts to 7726. O2 will report them to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). If the calls or texts result in fraudulent activity, report the experience to Action Fraud.

Malicious calls and texts

Malicious, abusive, or threatening calls are a criminal offence. If you believe the threat is real and immediate, call 999.

For less immediate threats, contact your local police station on 101. The police may advise you to contact us to trace the calls. If necessary, email [email protected] with the details.

If you want to change your mobile number, get in touch with O2 for assistance. For more advice, check the Ofcom guide on dealing with malicious calls.

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