Australian regulator recommends prompt action to combat scams

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released its Combating Scams report which recommends new enforceable obligations on telcos and the immediate commencement of trials for a number of scam reduction initiatives.

The trials aims to reduce common phone scams such as malicious ‘spoofing’, where scammers disguise their number to make it look like calls are coming from a trusted organisation, and ‘Wangiri’ scams, where scammers ring once from an international number with high premium charges for those who call back.

Chair of the Scam Project, Fiona Cameron, said work on the first trial which combats malicious spoofing scams has already begun.

“We will be trialling a Do Not Originate list, which compiles a list of safe numbers from organisations like banks and the tax office and prevents them being used for scams,” Ms Cameron said.

“Further trials will target the Wangiri ‘one ring and drop’ Scam, which has been identified as one the industry can potentially bust by working together.”

Ms Cameron she was pleased to see industry and government come together to share information, review international best practice and take action.

“Together we have developed a three-point action plan that I’m confident can reduce scam calls and re-build consumer confidence,” she said.

“It is very pleasing to see our project has spurred on significant scam reduction activities across the sector. In one case a telco provider blocked nearly 3 million scam calls in one month.

“Scammers are agile and relentless, there is no silver bullet that will put a stop to all their activities, however a quick adoption of the Combating Scams Action Plan will ensure the sector remains vigilant.

“It’s about time we felt comfortable answering the phone again,” she said.

The plan also recommends establishing a Scam Telecommunications Action Taskforce to provide ongoing focus on scam minimisation strategies across Government and industry.

The ACMA partnered with the ACCC and Australian Cyber Security Centre on the Scam Technology Project.

A summary of the report is available here.

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