Government to set up SMS Sender ID Registry to prevent Australians being scammed
The Federal Government has announced a move that will protect Australians from being scammed via text messages with the establishment of an SMS sender ID registry.
Nearly half of all Australians have been received a scam via text message just in the last 12 months alone.
Australians lost more than $3.1 billion to scams in 2022 alone which was an alarming jump from the previous year.
The Albanese Government has decided to swing into action and are committed to disrupting these illegal scam text messages with the new SMS sender ID registry.
The idea behind the SMS sender ID registry is to create a new layer of protection for Australians.
The problem in the past has been scam text messages appearing in the same thread as other legitimate text messages which lead people to believe the scams real.
For example, if a person receives a scam text message pretending to be Australia Post it can often be seen in the same thread as other genuine messages from Australia Post.
Scammers can imitate banks and other companies we know in such an accurate way as for them to slip into the same message streams.
“The Albanese Government is committed to doing what it can to disrupt illegal text message scams and better protect Australians,” says Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP.
“With more and more Australians reporting scam text messages, the Albanese Government is taking strong action by funding the regulator to establish a new SMS sender ID Registry to support telcos in stopping scammers from imitating trusted brands.
“We will all reap the practical benefits that will be delivered by the implementation of the SMS sender ID Registry.
HOW AN SMS SCAM REGISTRY MAY OPERATE:
– You receive regular legitimate text messages from Australia Post with ‘AusPost’ in the message header. This might be a notification to pick up a parcel.
– Scammers are currently able to copy or ‘spoof’ that AusPost message header and send you a message in that AusPost message thread.
– This means that in your regular messages from AusPost, a scammer can insert a malicious text message with a scam link that looks otherwise perfectly legitimate inside a trusted brand message thread.
– The registry will allow AusPost to register their Sender ID with the registry and telcos will then be able to block incoming messages that are not legitimate trying to use that Sender ID.
The SMS sender ID registry will be announced as part of the 2023-24 Budget with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) receiving more than $10m over four years to create and maintain an Australian SMS Sender ID registry.
The registry is designed to help telcos make it harder for scammers to imitate trusted and established brands and companies using SMS.
It will also go a long way to prevent scammers from imitating industry or government brands including Linkt or myGov in text message headers.
It will have a staggered introduction before an industry wide model is established with rules, guidelines and security measures in place.
This move follows rules registered by the ACMA in July last year which helped telcos block more than 90 million scam texts between July and December 2022.
The registry will be part of the Government’s National Anti Scam Centre (NASC) with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in a world-leading public and private sector partnership to help stop scammers in Australia.
“Everyday scammers are ripping money out the pockets of hard-working Australians,” says Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, the Hon Stephen Jones MP.
“The Government is fighting back. With the establishment National Anti-Scams Centre and initiatives like SMS sender ID Registry, we are driving home a clear message; the Government is putting scammers on notice.
“We know text messages have topped phones calls as a scammers tool of choice. The registry will not only make it tougher for scammers to imitate trusted brands through SMS; it will be crucial in disrupting a key channel that scammers use to target victims”.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed:
– Text messages were the leading contact method for scams in 2022 (33 per cent of scam reports) surpassing phone calls (29 per cent).
– Reports about scam texts to Scamwatch increased by 18.8 per cent in 2022. There were 79,836 reports of scam texts. However, 30 per cent of victims do not report scams – including text scams – to anyone, so the estimated loss of over $3.1 billion in 2022 is likely to be far higher.
– The most common category of scam reported to Scamwatch in 2022 was phishing (tricking victims into giving out personal information such as bank accounts, passwords, credit cards or super).
– There was a 469 per cent increase in phishing financial losses in 2022. Most phishing scams were sent as text message