The Morrison Government has taken strong action to shut down scam text messages, making an important regulatory amendment empowering the telecommunication sector to identify and block SMS scams at source.
Minster for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said a range of people and groups used bulk text messages to scam, defraud, or infect devices with malicious code, and that innovative and ever-evolving approaches continued to trick victims into compromising their devices and data.
“Scam SMS messages often impersonate well known businesses or government agencies to ‘phish’ for personal information or seek to install malware or ransomware on a device,” Minister Andrews said.
“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.
“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.”
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said, “As we announced last month, 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.
“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.