ACMA officially launches anti-spam hotline

New hotline allows Australians to report spam immediately

After several months of testing, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has officially launched its new spam reporting tool, Spam SMS, allowing Australians to report spam by forwarding the message to a specified mobile number.

As reported by <i>Computerworld Australia</i> in April, the hotline allows consumers receiving spam SMS to send the offending message directly to a mobile number - 0429 999 888 - run by ACMA, rather than through an online form.

The hotline has been initially trialled amongst staff and those identified as regular reporters of SMS spam, before receiving the green light to launch to the wider public this week. Documentation regarding the hotline has been available on ACMA's website for some time.

A source within ACMA told Computerworld Australia that the hotline was set up to address a recent influx of complaints regarding SMS spam, and was being implemented to make it easier than the online forms currently used by the authority.

ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman, said that young mobile phone users are often subjected to targeted SMS marketing messages but are more hesitant to report it.

“We can actually do a lot to help in this space, but we have to know about it,” Chapman said.

Back in April, Telstra added anti-spam measures on its mobile validation system following complaints from both customers and those who did not have an account with the telco. The mobile validation system did not check whether the input number belonged to a Telstra service, and had no restrictions on how many times the user could go through this validation process. This resulted in several users receiving multiple SMS messages from the service, despite never personally going through the validation service and, in some cases, never having a Telstra service at all.

Computerworld Australia initially learned about the hotline after one journalist was victim to the unsecured validation system, receiving a total of 30 messages despite never having been a customer of Telstra.

After delivering the offending SMS to the ACMA’s anti-SMS spam hotline and following up with Telstra directly, Computerworld Australia was told by a spokesperson at the telco that the problem had been resolved.

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