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The extraordinary number of scam calls blocked in Australia

Oliver Peterson
Article image for The extraordinary number of scam calls blocked in Australia

An eye-watering 55 million scam calls have been blocked by the Australian Communications and Media Authority since new rules came into effect for telcos in mid-December.

The Reducing Scam Calls Code sets out the processes for telcos to identify, trace and block scam calls and was developed in conjunction with the telco industry and ACMA.

“We are finally disrupting the scammers’ business model,” Fiona Cameron, chair of ACMA’s scam telecommunications action taskforce, told Oliver Peterson.

“Ultimately for them it’s a numbers game,” she said.

“They want to hit as many millions of numbers as they can so they get a marginal success rate.”

Prior to the new code, only 30 million calls had been blocked in 12 months. Ms Cameron said to have 55 million calls blocked in only a few months proves the improved technology being used by telcos is working.

“When we told telcos they had to detect, trace and block scam calls the came absolutely to the party.

“So better technology is allowing them to block more scam calls but of course better technology is also allowing the scammers to find other ways in.”

Australians lost $48 million to scams last year with Ms Cameron saying if telcos can continue blocking calls at this rate, we’ll no longer be a “soft target for industrial scamming levels.”

Telcos face penalties of up to $250,000 for breaching directions to comply with the code.

Consumers should report suspected phone-scams to Scamwatch.

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Oliver Peterson
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