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Telcos in Australia to block SMS scams to prevent financial losses

According to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Scamwatch data, financial losses from SMS scams this year to date increased by 188% compared to the same period in 2021 – from around $2.3 million to over $6.5 million. SMS scams accounted for about 32% of all reported scams to date this year. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has registered new rules to require telcos to identify, trace and block SMS scams.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the new rules are the latest step towards providing better protections for consumers. “SMS scams have devastating financial and emotional impacts for victims. In the first 16 months after the Reducing Scam Calls code was put in place, telcos reported blocking over 549 million scam calls to Australian phone numbers, and we have seen a dramatic drop in scam call complaints. We expect to see SMS scams reduce as the industry steps up to do more to protect their customers,” she said.

These new rules complement ACMA-made rules that came into force on 30 June 2022 that require telcos to use multi-factor ID checks for customer transactions that are commonly targeted by scammers, including SIM swap requests and account changes. Telcos will face penalties of up to $250,000 for breaching ACMA directions.

PR Newswire

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