The surge in phone scams has led to new regulations forcing telcos to do more to protect their customers.
The dramatic increase in the amount Australians are losing to SMS scams has led to new regulations forcing phone companies to take action.
In the future, telcos will need to detect, track, block and share fraudulent messages with authorities and other companies.
It follows similar rules introduced in 2020 by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to tackle fraudulent phone calls.
“In the first 16 months after the Call Fraud Reduction Code was put in place, telcos reported blocking over 549 million call fraud calls to Australian phone numbers and we are seeing a sharp decline in call fraud complaints,” said ACMA Chairman Nerida. O’Loughlin. .
“We expect SMS fraud to decrease as the industry does more to protect its customers.”
Australians have lost more than $6.5 million to scam messages this year – up from $2.3 million in the same period in 2021.
In some cases, the victims lost all their savings, which caused serious mental disorders.
Ms O’Laughlin said that while there is no silver bullet to stop SMS scams, creating more barriers to scammers will help protect Australians.
“The harder we make it for scammers, the less likely Australians are to become victims,” she said.
In addition to tracking and reporting fraud, companies will need to publish information to help customers identify them and avoid falling into their trap.
The federal government welcomed the action, which was taken in consultation with industry leader Communications Alliance.
“Most Australians have either received a scam text message or know someone who received it and know how easy it is to fall into the trap,” Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said.
A recent example was some scammers taking advantage of the pandemic obtain personal information by impersonating a health care representative.
Once scammers get the information they need, it can be used to empty bank accounts or commit further fraud before the victim even realizes what has happened.
“These new rules aim to disrupt fraudsters’ business models, which will help protect vulnerable Australians from fraudsters accessing their bank accounts, social media and online businesses,” Ms Rowland said.
Originally published as Telcos forced to protect Australians from text message scams