Regulatory amendment to stop scam text messages

Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien has welcomed strong action by the Liberal and Nationals Government to shut down scam text messages and block them at their source.

The Morrison Government is making an important regulatory amendment empowering the telecommunication sector to identify and block SMS scams.

“SMS scammers use rapidly-evolving and sneaky tactics to send bulk messages that trick people into compromising their personal information, or infect devices with malicious code or viruses – often impersonating well-known businesses or Government agencies,” Mr O’Brien said.

“This new regulatory amendment we have enacted will ensure that telecommunications providers have the authority to block these malicious messages from the start, preventing scammers from targeting Australians.”

Minster for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the Morrison Government is committed to collaborating with industry to tackle new and emerging threats to the Australian community, including scams that exploit digital technologies for nefarious ends.

“The regulatory amendment we have enacted provides the telecommunications sector with the authority they need to block malicious SMS messages at scale and protect the Australian public from scammers,” Ms Andrews said.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said the Morrison Government has successfully blocked scammers from sending text messages appearing to come from legitimate government sender IDs, including Centrelink, myGov, and the Australian Taxation Office.

“In addition, as a result of the Morrison Government’s Reducing Scam Calls Code, more than 214 million scam calls have been blocked since December 2020,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The measure we are announcing today is a further indication of how seriously we take this form of illegal activity.”

This year, SMS and phone scam reports are double those reported to Scamwatch in 2020, resulting in over $87 million being lost by the Australian community.

Practical information to help Australians stay secure from cybercrime is available at the Australian Government’s dedicated cyber security website.