Questioning the Minister for Security, Damian Hinds MP, in the House of Commons this week over steps to tackle online fraud, Vale of Clwyd MP referred to a service which enables people to report spam text messages and mobile calls and is keen to ensure his constituents are aware of it.
‘7726’ is a number all mobile customers using UK networks can text to report unwanted SMS messages or phone calls on a mobile. The number ‘7726’ was chosen because it spells ‘SPAM’ on an alphanumeric phone keypad.
In Parliament on Monday, James referred to the number and asked the Minister how the data obtained from its use is being used to catch and punish perpetrators.
“Ofcom allows those who receive spam text messages to forward them to a service, 7726, to report the receipt of those messages. How will the law enforcement agencies use the data acquired to locate and to punish the perpetrators of those crimes?”
The Minister replied:
“I am grateful to my hon. Friend for highlighting the 7726 service, because referrals to that help to build up the intelligence on SMS fraudsters or scam texters and can help to lead to take-downs. It is really important that law enforcement works both with regulators and directly with individual telecoms companies to protect victims and go after the criminals responsible.”
Speaking afterwards, James said:
“As the Minister said, online fraud can cause very serious harm to victims, both financial and emotional.
“He told me that the UK Government are determined to protect the public from these crimes and to go after those that commit them, and that the draft Online Safety Bill will be one important tool to enhance their abilities in that.
“Busy shopping periods like Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas can provide fraudsters with extra opportunities to scam people. I therefore urge everyone to be extra vigilant at all times, but particularly in the run up to Christmas, and to report to ‘7726’ any suspicious text messages (by forwarding them) or scammer phone calls (by texting ‘Call’ and then following instructions). Scam emails can be forwarded to ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’”
For further information on how to report spam texts and mobile calls visit the OfCom website: How to report scam texts and mobile calls to 7726 - Ofcom