Wondering which phone scammers might be targeting you? Here are 336 million for a start

Roughly 16 scam text messages were blocked by phone companies for every single adult in Australia over the past year and a half.

Dec 01, 2023, updated Dec 01, 2023
ACMA boss Nerida O'Loughlin. Image: Supplied

ACMA boss Nerida O'Loughlin. Image: Supplied

Under rules introduced by the Australian Communication and Media Authority in July 2022, telcos are required to identify, trace and block scams texts.

Since then, a wave of 336.7 million scam texts were blocked by the companies, but SMS remains the most reported contact method for scams.

Scam messages work by sounding urgent to get the target to act quickly, often reporting a tax or toll debt, or parcel that’s ready to be collected.

Most contain a link that will take you to a scam website where any personal information entered on the site can be used to steal money or commit fraud in the victim’s name.

Making them even harder to spot, scam messages can sometimes appear in the same message chain as those from a real organisation.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said there was no single or easy solution to address scams.

“Every scam stopped is a win for consumers and helps make Australia a harder target for these criminal syndicates,’ Ms O’Loughlin said

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ACMA is developing a Sender ID Registry to help protect message headers of brands and government agencies, such as MyGov, from impersonation by scammers.

The organisation hopes the move will prevent scam messages entering legitimate pre-existing text message threads on smartphones.

Ms O’Loughlin said it was important for Australians to remain vigilant, especially during the Christmas period.

“The lead up to the end-of-year holidays is often used by scammers to step up their activities, including via fake parcel delivery messages,” she said.

“It pays to slow down and think before acting on a call or message, and always research and independently check who you’re dealing with.”

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