Swedish Phone Operators Unite Against Fraud: Introducing the Short-Number Solution

A handful of phone operators in Sweden have come together for the cause of reducing consequences of the large number of fraudulent text messages sent to citizens. The result is a short-number that can be used to forward fraudulent messages to these operators.

Four of the large phone operators in Sweden teamed up to tackle this issue, with Telekområdgivarna acting as a lead for the project. Telekområdgivarna is a Swedish non-profit organization financed by participating phone operators. They provide unbiased and free help to consumers about subscriptions for television, telephony, broadband, and other services.

The project started in early spring of 2023, and later on, CYBERSPACE’s consortium partner, the Swedish Police Authority, also joined in. The partners agreed on the importance of finding a solution to the vast number of fraudulent texts, including “spoofing” (fraudsters calling from another number that is shown on the display), and “smishing” (fraud by text message). The result is a short-number that can be used to forward fraudulent messages to the operators. The number is 7726, which spells out ”SPAM” on the keypad, and is globally established to report fraud texts.

What to look for when estimating whether a message is fraudulent:

  • Do not press any links that you feel uncertain about.
  • Close the message and contemplate whether this information is true.
  • Open the app or the website of the company, and check whether you really need to specify your account details or similar information.
  • If you are uncertain – contact the company directly to ensure that they sent the message.

If the message is suspicious and you want to report it:

  • Copy the message and forward it to 7726. 
  • The phone operators will receive the fraudulent message and block it from being sent forward to other costumers.

This method is already used by some phone operators to report suspicious messages; however, the new global short-number collects all reports in one place. This enables the operators to effectively work together to counteract fraudulent phone numbers. 

This action might not completely stop the fraudulent messages from being sent, but it can help phone operators collect information, and warn citizens about messages from specific phone numbers. Long term, this solution has the potential to contribute to a reduced number of victims caused by spam messages.

You can read more about Telekområdgivarna and the project at (in Swedish): https://telekomradgivarna.se/abonnemang/press/nyheter/nyhet/2023/Tillsammans-bekampar-vi-sms-bedragerier-med-ny-metod

References:

Polisen : https://polisen.se/utsatt-for-brott/polisanmalan/bedrageri/bedragerier/natfiske-phising/

Telia :https://www.telia.se/privat/aktuellt/2023/Oktober/rapportera-sms-bedragerier-via-7726

Telekområdgivarna: https://telekomradgivarna.se/abonnemang/press/nyheter/nyhet/2023/Tillsammans-bekampar-vi-sms-bedragerier-med-ny-metod