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Telnyx breaches anti-scam and public safety rules

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Telnyx Australia Pty Ltd has paid a $106,560 infringement notice and been formally directed to comply with industry rules after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found the telco breached multiple anti-scam and public safety obligations.

An ACMA investigation found Telnyx failed to comply with rules to reduce scam SMS and prevent mobile number fraud between 2017 and 2022. 

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that Telnyx’s systemic failures had left its customers and the broader community at risk of harm over a lengthy period. 

“Telnyx’s breaches weakened the application of anti-scams rules at a time when scam SMS have heavily impacted on many Australians,” she said. 

The ACMA’s investigation found the business allowed at least 4,666 SMS to be sent using text-based sender IDs (i.e. shortened business names) without sufficient checks to ensure they weren’t scams.

“The fact that Telnyx is a smaller telco is simply no excuse as it breached a raft of rules in place to prevent serious harms to Australians,” Ms O’Loughlin said. 

The ACMA’s investigation also found that Telnyx did not undertake adequate ID checks for its prepaid mobile customers or when transferring customers from other telcos. 

Telnyx also failed to give customer data to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) on more than 3,256 occasions between 2017 and 2022. The IPND is used by Triple Zero to help locate people in an emergency, for the Emergency Alert Service to warn Australians of emergencies like flood or bushfire, and to assist law enforcement activities.

In addition to the financial penalty, the ACMA has directed Telnyx to comply with the Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMs and the Integrated Public Number Database Industry codes. The ACMA has also accepted court-enforceable undertakings from Telnyx that it will conduct an independent review of its compliance practices and make improvements where needed.

“We expect new telcos to be compliant with industry rules from day one of their operations, including anti-scam and public safety rules.”

“Protecting their customers should be the highest priority of all telcos, regardless of their size or how long they have operated,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

Combating SMS phone scams is an ACMA compliance priority and telcos may face penalties of up to $250,000 for breaching ACMA directions to comply with industry codes.

If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank and phone company immediately and report it to Scamwatch. Contact IDCARE if you’ve had personal details stolen.

For information on how to spot – and stop – phone scams, visit acma.gov.au/scams.

MR 38/2023

For more information, please contact ACMA Media on 0438 375 776 or media@acma.gov.au.

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