Millions of O2 customers treated to free upgrade that could end scam calls forever

o2 logo pictured outside of one of its high street stores

Virgin Media O2 has launched Brand ID for all customers free of charge, starting with Android devices, to help fight against fraudulent and scam calls

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Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown


Published: 13/06/2024

- 05:00

Updated: 13/06/2024

- 10:36

Artificial Intelligence will be leveraged to pre-warn people about common scams

  • Brand ID will be available as a free upgrade to all O2 customers
  • Starting on Android, the system displays caller ID for unknown numbers
  • It can scan an immense database of organisations and businesses
  • Later this year, AI will be deployed to spot suspicious behaviour
  • Receive a call from a number that's suspected of scam and you'll be warned

If you've got an O2 SIM card inside your phone — spam calls will soon be a thing of the past.

That's because Virgin Media O2 is treating millions of customers to a brand-new call identification system that promises to quash fraudulent calls for good. Known as Brand ID, the anti-spam filter will check the identity of an incoming call and display the details of the organisation on-screen.


screenshot of the Brand ID feature working on an O2 phone android

By checking through its immense database of known numbers in seconds, Brand ID will be able to identify incoming calls from a variety of common organisations and businesses

VIRGIN MEDIA O2 PRESS OFFICE

This will let you screen your calls based on whether you recognise the name of the business.

Virgin Media O2 is offering this nifty anti-fraud system at no extra cost for all customers. If you're already paying for a similar solution to battle against fraudulent cold callers, then it's time to cancel your Direct Debit.

Designed by security firm Hiya, the tool is already used by roughly 150 businesses in the UK, including several major banks and insurance firms. Brand ID will be coming to Android smartphones first, with more devices set to benefit from the system in the coming months.

The new feature comes as research from Hiya reveals that nearly half (46%) of unidentified calls are ignored, with 92% of people admitting they suspect unidentified calls to be fraudulent. With Brand ID running, there should be no more unidentified calls, so you'll be able to pick up in full confidence.

Speaking about the launch, Director of Fraud at Virgin Media O2 Murray Mackenzie said: "As part of our relentless efforts to stop the scammers, we’re rolling out next-generation caller ID to provide our customers with reliable information about who is calling before they even pick up the phone.

"By giving them confidence in who is calling and why, customers will be better able to spot fraudulent call attempts and ensure they’re only speaking to people and organisations they want to. With more than a hundred major UK businesses already signed up to the service, this free feature will help give our customers greater peace of mind."

Brand ID is the latest in a raft of changes from Virgin Media O2 designed to keep its customers safe from fraud. The UK mobile network already has its own AI-powered spam text detection technology, which has prevented more than 89 million fraudulent texts from reaching customers in 2023 alone.

O2 customers will be treated to Call Defence, a free AI-powered spam fighting tool to help further protect mobile customers from fraud, in the coming months too.

Also developed by Hiya, this Adaptive Artificial Intelligence (AI) system can analyse the behaviour of numbers to determine whether a call is a suspected scam or spam labelling the call accordingly. If the same number is harassing multiple people with a scam, the system will note the behaviour and warn anyone else who gets the call.

"O2 is leading the way in revitalising the value of the mobile phone call experience," said Kush Parikh, Hiya President. "Offering a free anti-scam solution is the response that every carrier in Europe should be taking, as it is the only way to ensure that all subscribers are protected without leaving coverage gaps that fraudsters can exploit. We are proud to partner with O2 for call protection and branded calling across the UK."

Despite these measures, scam and fraud attempts remains at record levels in the UK.

Virgin Media O2 is still calling on customers to remain vigilant to suspicious calls and texts — particularly when asked to provide personal information — and report them for free to 7726 to help keep themselves and others safe. By forwarding these scam texts, the telecom company is not only able to investigate and block the mobile numbers used by fraudsters, but also use the scam texts to help refine its blocking services, making it easier to identify new trends and block messages faster.

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