Sunshine Coast Federal MP welcomes crack down on phone and SMS scams

Sunshine Coast residents are set to benefit from new action to crack down on frustrating and potentially costly scam messaging which has been welcomed by Federal Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace.

“With these new regulations the Morrison Government has taken strong action to shut down scam text messages.  I know that thousands of local residents have received malicious scam text messages, so this is a really positive step forward.” Mr Wallace said.

“Working with industry, our government has made an important regulatory amendment empowering the telecommunication sector to identify and block SMS scams at source.”

“It won’t mean they disappear overnight, but it does mean more can be done to stop this insidious activity that affects hundreds of thousands of unsuspecting Australians every year.”

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.

“Scam text messages and calls are not only annoying – they have a real impact on lives, with people being defrauded, their identities stolen, or their devices disabled.  It’s a serious problem which costs Australians millions of dollars a year.”

“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.”

Mr Wallace 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.

“With the support of the Morrison Government the Sunshine Coast is already a leader in responding to these kinds of scams. With Federal Government funding of $6.1 million, local organisation IDCARE helps more than 100,000 Australians every year to deal with the consequences of cybercrime in their lives.”

The latest regulatory announcement comes on top of the Morrison Government’s Reducing Scam Calls Code, which has resulted in more than 214 million scam calls being blocked since December 2020.

“I really encourage everybody to think twice before they click any link sent to them in a text or email – even if it appears to be from a legitimate source.  It’s worth checking on the origin of any unexpected text or email.”

Practical information to help Australians stay secure from cybercrime is available at the Australian Government’s dedicated cyber security website. www.cyber.gov.au  While Scams can be reported to Scamwatch at www.scamwatch.gov.au

Sunshine Coast residents who have recently been affected by cybercrime should consider contacting IDCARE on 1800 595 160.

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