May 29, 2024
Australia Unveils Ambitious Plan to Combat Scams
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Australian Treasury Proposes Sector-Specific Measures Against Consumer Scams

Australia’s Department of the Treasury is proposing a fresh framework to tackle consumer and business scams. The framework, outlined in a consultation paper, aims to introduce sector-specific codes and standards, focusing on banking and cryptocurrency scams, among others.

This initiative supplements the ongoing efforts of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) during Scams Awareness Week and emphasizes Australia’s strategy to enforce mandatory industry codes for various types of scams.

Announced by Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones and Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland on Nov. 30, the ‘Proposed Scams Code Framework’ seeks to define distinct roles for both government and private entities in combating scams. The Treasury emphasizes the need for key sectors in the scam landscape to implement measures preventing, detecting, disrupting, and responding to scams, including the sharing of scam intelligence.

The framework categorizes codes and standards into three main segments targeting sectors frequently exploited by scammers: banks, telecommunications providers, and digital communications platforms. It also introduces a category for future sectors, encompassing cryptocurrencies, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and associated trading platforms and marketplaces.

Highlighting the staggering financial losses due to scams—a reported $3.1 billion incurred by Australian consumers and businesses in 2022, an 80% increase from the previous year—the Treasury emphasizes the urgency to address this issue. Despite previous government initiatives, the effectiveness of these efforts remains insufficient.

The proposed mandatory industry codes will delineate the responsibilities of the private sector in addressing scam activities. Presently, the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), in collaboration with the ACCC, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and specialized support services, is actively combating scams in Australia. The Treasury invites feedback and comments on the consultation paper until January 29, 2024.

Image by freepik

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