Australia mandates tougher operator ID checks - Mobile World Live

Australia mandates tougher operator ID checks

28 FEB 2020

Australia’s regulator introduced a new standard to fight mobile number fraud, requiring operators to implement multifactor authentication before transferring a phone number.

In a statement, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said the new identity verification rules, which go into effect on 30 April, require a consumer to confirm they have authorised the transfer of their phone number to another provider.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomed the move as a positive step towards protecting mobile users against scammers.

But ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin argued it was important to ensure the two-step transfer process was secure, stating SMS messages aren’t safe enough to prevent fraudulent mobile number porting.

“We’d like to see the ACMA require telcos to use highly secure forms of verification such as hardware or software authentication tokens which are generated with a mobile app,” she explained.

ACMA member Fiona Cameron said mobile number fraud, a form of identity theft where scammers steal personal details to gain control of a phone number, is a serious issue which can cause significant harm to victims.

She said the new standard is a strong step forward in the battle against criminals who scam mobile users and will significantly reduce the prevalence of fraud.

The ACMA will be actively monitoring compliance, Cameron said.

Operators face penalties of up AUD250,000 ($163,146) for failing to comply.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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