ACMA: over one billion telco scams blocked

More than one billion telco scams were blocked last year, including over 256 million scam calls and 85 million scam texts in the last quarter thanks to active efforts by telcos to disrupt scam activity, according to data from the communications regulator ACMA.

Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said such an outcome was driven by the Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMS industry code which requires SMS service providers to identify, trace and block suspected SMS scams, and to conduct checks on organisations using text-based sender IDs.

Additionally, carriage service providers (CSPs) are required to report to ACMA blocked scam calls and scam SMSs during each quarter.

In 2022, Australians reported at least $3.1 billion in scam losses, which represented an 80 per cent increase in total losses recorded in 2021.

“Disrupting scammers is a whole-of-Government and industry effort. These syndicates are sophisticated, and all Australians need to remain vigilant,” Minister Rowland said.

“It’s pleasing to see that one billion telecommunications scams never met their intended target this past year.

“The Albanese Government is committed to adapting to new scam threats, and that’s why we’ve funded a new SMS Sender ID Registry to combat spoof texts slipping into legitimate text streams and stealing personal data.”

The May Budget included funding for ACMA to design a new SMS Sender ID Registry to stop scammers spoofing trusted brand names – like Linkt or Australia Post – in text headers to deceive Australians.

The Government’s National Anti-Scam Centre, led by the ACCC and launched on 1 July 2023, and brings together law enforcement, telecommunication providers, digital platforms and others to share scam intelligence, target priority scams and raise awareness.