27 September 2023

New rules going tough on SMS scammers

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New rules requiring telecommunication companies to identify, trace and block SMS (Short Message Service) scams have been introduced in every State and Territory by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Chair of ACMA, Nerida O’Loughlin said the new rules were the latest step towards providing better protections for consumers against scams.

“SMS scams can be highly sophisticated and have devastating financial and emotional impacts for victims,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“In some circumstances, scammers can take a person’s life savings and cause profound ongoing distress,” she said.

“These scam messages are deeply frustrating to Australians because they are received on devices that are an essential part of our social and economic lives.”

Ms O’Loughlin said almost every Australian adult and business was affected.

“We shouldn’t have to screen messages and adopt workaround behaviours to be able to feel safe and stay connected,” she said.

She said that under the rules, telcos would also be required to publish information that assisted their customers to proactively manage and report SMS scams, share information about scam messages with other telcos and report identified scams to authorities.

Ms O’Loughlin said there was no silver bullet to stopping scams, but enforceable laws could have a significant impact and every blocked scam was a win for consumers.

“The harder we make it for scammers, the less Australians are likely to be targeted,” she said.

“We expect to see SMS scams reduce as industry step up to do more to protect their customers,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

Further information on the new rules can be accessed at this PS News link.

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