Government expands fight against scammers


Tuesday, 18 June, 2024

Government expands fight against scammers

The federal government has announced it will join a cutting‑edge intelligence exchange between Australian banks, telecommunications companies, digital platforms and the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX).

The National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) will join the AFCX intelligence loop, which enables near real-time data sharing between participants about the latest tactics and tools used by scammers. The partnership aims to increase the capacity to disrupt and intercept scammer contact with victims and help identify and take down scammer websites.

The NASC will share and receive intelligence such as scam phone numbers, URLs and bank accounts that are core tools scammers use to ply their trade. Collaboration across the scam ecosystem is a core weapon the government says it is using to fight back against scammers.

This announcement comes after the Assistant Treasurer led a delegation of industry leaders to meet with New Zealand and Singaporean counterparts in Singapore in a show of strength against scammers.

The government says it is implementing a world-leading anti‑scam plan that has already seen scam losses fall for the first time since 2016. This includes not only the National Anti‑Scam Centre, but also funding the Australian Securities Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) to take down fake investment websites and establish the SMS Sender ID register to stop scammers from spoofing trusted brand names. Already these tools have led to over 5000 website takedowns and 100 million scam text messages blocked in the final quarter of 2023.

“We are positioning Australia as a leader when it comes to fighting scammers and it’s all about making this country the hardest place for scammers to operate,” said Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services Stephen Jones. “The idea of the intel loop is simple: it is all about putting forward a united, coordinated front so scammers can’t reach their victims.

“Scammers aren’t mugs: they’re cunning criminals who adapt and change their tactics and we need to be able to do the same. Having near real-time data sharing is vital to that.”

Image credit: iStock.com/Midnight Studio

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