Australian telcos have blocked over 336.7 million scam texts since July 2022, according to new figures released by the ACMA.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said telcos reported identifying and blocking the scam texts between 12 July 2022 and 30 September 2023 under the ACMA-registered Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMS Industry Code.
“These figures provide stark evidence of the scale of scam activity, with approximately 16 scam texts being blocked for every adult in the country,” she said.
“There is no single or easy solution to address scams, however, every scam stopped is a win for consumers and helps make Australia a harder target for these criminal syndicates.
“These are promising results to report during Scams Awareness Week as telcos build their capability to help stop the relentless attacks by scammers.”
Combating SMS scams is an ACMA compliance priority and it was actively monitoring compliance with SMS anti-scam rules to help close vulnerabilities used by scammers.
The ACMA is currently developing the pilot of a Sender ID Registry, which will help protect the message headers (such as ‘MyGov’) of brands and government agencies from impersonation by scammers.
It will not eliminate impersonation scams but will increase trust in SMS by preventing scam messages from entering legitimate pre-existing text message threads on smartphones.
The Sender ID Registry is part of the government’s Fighting Scams initiative to address scams and online fraud and protect Australians from financial harm.
The initiative also supports the work of the National Anti-Scam Centre, which commenced operations on 1 July 2023.
O’Loughlin cautioned Australians to remain vigilant of suspicious phone calls and SMS, 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.”