Symbio Telcos Breach Scam Info-sharing Rules

Telco companies Symbio Wholesale Pty Limited and Symbio Networks Pty Ltd have been directed to comply with Australia’s phone scam rules after they breached information-sharing and reporting obligations.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found Symbio Wholesale failed to share information about scam calls with other telcos and the ACMA in a timely manner on multiple occasions. Both Symbio Wholesale and Symbio Networks also failed to accurately report the number of scam calls they blocked in April to June 2023.

Authority Member Samantha Yorke said the identification of emerging scams and timely sharing of information between telcos is critical to disrupting scams.

“Scam reduction rules are only as effective as the weakest link and on this occasion Symbio failed to meet its obligations,” Ms Yorke said.

“While there is no suggestion Symbio perpetrated these scams, in these cases it did not provide timely notifications about these calls to other telcos, compromising the ability of those telcos to take rapid action against scams.”

The Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMs Industry Code places information-sharing obligations on telcos once they identify scam calls and where they are notified of scams by other telcos. These processes are critical to enabling rapid scam identification and disruption across the networks.

“Australians reported losing over $115 million to scam calls in 2023, and for some people the impact can be devastating,” Ms Yorke said.

“All telcos must monitor, investigate, trace and block scams and quickly share information to prevent scams reaching the public.”

Telcos may face penalties of up to $250,000 for breaching ACMA directions to comply with industry codes.

“This matter is deeply concerning as it follows an ACMA finding under superseded rules in 2022 that Symbio failed to adequately investigate scam calls after being informed of them by other telcos.

“We will be closely monitoring Symbio’s compliance with the rules and won’t hesitate to take stronger action if future non-compliance is found,” Ms Yorke said.

/Public Release. View in full here.