Symbio warned for not investigating alleged scam calls

The ACMA has formally warned Symbio Networks Pty Ltd and Symbio Wholesale Pty Limited (both part of the Symbio Group) for failing to adequately investigate suspected scam calls.

Symbio is the first telco found to have breached the Reducing Scam Calls Industry Code, which came into force in December 2020. The code requires telcos to identify and block scam calls, as well as share data with other telcos and conduct traceback activities to help determine the source of scam calls.

Under the code, telcos must investigate evidence of scams provided by other providers as soon as possible, and take reasonable steps to utilise all available information provided to them to help trace and block scam calls.

An ACMA investigation found that Symbio failed to investigate suspected scam calls it had been notified of by another telco in November 2021. Symbio investigated only 9 of the 777,268 calling line identifications provided to it.

Symbio also failed to investigate and trace the origin of other alleged scam calls as soon as possible, after it was notified of them in October 2021. Symbio only undertook traceback actions approximately 4 months after the notification.

The ACMA expects telcos to take action when given information about scam calls by other telcos, including requesting more details if needed. Effective scam reduction activity can only occur when there is collaboration and information sharing between telcos in a timely manner.

Since the rules came into force, telcos – including those in the Symbio Group – have blocked over half a billion scam calls. Every scam call blocked is a win for consumers and makes Australia’s telecommunications services safer.

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