Albanese Government Continues Crackdown On Scammers

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

The Albanese Government has delivered an additional $69.2 million in the 2024-25 Budget as part of our second tranche of reforms to crackdown on scammers.

The Government has been working hard to protect Australians from fraudsters and scammers and ensure people keep more of what they earn.

After establishing the National Anti-Scam Centre last year, scam losses have decreased for the first time in almost a decade, with scam losses reported to Scamwatch trending down since July last year.

A new report released today by the ACCC, shows scam losses reported to Scamwatch between January and March this year are down by 11% compared to the previous quarter. The report also shows that losses reported to the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange are down by over 40% over the same period.

The success of phase one measures reinforces our resolve to take on these criminals. The Budget funding supports the introduction of mandatory industry codes and increased use of the secure eInvoicing network.

The industry codes will start with banks, telcos, social media, digital messaging and search advertising services, and will require these groups to have measures in place to prevent, detect, disrupt, respond and report scams.

This will be complemented by strong regulator enforcement action, penalties for non-compliance, and victim compensation where wrongdoing occurs.

The Government will introduce legislation to implement the scams codes framework this year.

The government will provide regulators $37.3 million to administer and enforce the mandatory industry codes.

This include $12.4 million for the Australian Communications and Media Authority over four years to oversee the review and improvement of existing scam call and SMS code for telcos, and boost enforcement action to prevent, detect, and disrupt scams.

The Budget also provides $180 million for the ATO to identify and stop fraudsters, which will include IT system upgrades to block attempts to break into taxpayer accounts.

Quotes attributable to the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, Stephen Jones:

“There’s clear evidence that our scam crackdown is working, but losses remain far too high.

“We are implementing an ambitious anti-scam agenda and will continue to introduce strategies that protect people’s money and make it harder for scammers to operate.

“The codes will set a high bar for banks, telcos, and social media giants to prevent, detect and disrupt scam activity operating on their services.

“We want to be a world leader when it comes to scam prevention.

“Scam losses are down first the first time in almost a decade since we released stage one of our strategy, but we have more to do”.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland:

“Cracking down on these criminals is a key focus for the Albanese Government.

“Our funding measures will ensure our regulators have all the tools they need to disrupt scammers and keep Australians safe.

“Reviewing the telephone and SMS codes will ensure they are fit-for-purpose and ensuring industry is doing all it can prevent telco scams reaching Australians.

“These actions complement the Albanese Government’s work to establish an SMS Sender ID Registry – a first for Australia”.

/Public Release. View in full here.