Stopping SMS Scammers Posing as Legitimate Institutions

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Original media release from the Hon. Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications.

The Albanese Government is taking the fight to SMS scammers through its new Sender ID Registry, with consultation now open on whether the scheme should be mandatory for all entities that use message headers to contact Australian consumers.

Message headers, or a sender ID, identifies to a consumer who has sent the text message. Scammers often use fraudulent message headers to impersonate legitimate brands, such as banks, Australia Post, toll providers, government services and more.

Funded in the 2023 Budget, the Government’s Registry works by creating a controlled list of numbers of registered brand names, and preventing text messages from being sent using registered brand names unless the originating number matches the approved phone number on the Registry.

The Government launched a pilot of the Registry in December 2023, with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, the Australian Tax Office and Services Australia signed up. Participating telcos include Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom and Pivotal.

Participating telcos are required to block any suspicious messages before they are sent, protecting trusted brand names from being impersonated and consumers from being scammed.

Feedback from consumers, industry, charities and government services will inform Government decision-making about next steps, including funding models for the finalised scheme.

The  Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is receiving$10 million over four years to launch and maintain the Registry.

More than 47 per cent of Australians have reported exposure to fake or deceptive text messages in the last year, and in 2022 Australians lost an estimated $3.1 billion to scams.

The Registry is part of the Albanese Government’s ambitious agenda to fight scams and protect Australians. Last year, the Government established the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) within the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as an innovative, world-leading public-private sector partnership to disrupt and stop scammers in Australia.

The NASC is leveraging expertise and resourcing from across government, law enforcement, telecommunications providers, financial services, digital platforms and other intermediaries to deliver a cohesive strategy to combat scams.

The Albanese Government also provided $17.6 million to ASIC in last year’s Budget to bust fake investment websites that promote scams, and recently consulted on a new industry code framework to place robust obligations on key sectors to protect consumers from scams.

The Government’s crackdown on scams has already showed signs of success. In the six months since the NASC was stood up, reported losses to scams reduced by 29 per cent compared with the same period in 2022.

The Sender ID Registry is the next step in the Albanese Government’s ambitious agenda to protect Australians from the scourge of scams.

Consumers should remain vigilant about suspicious texts and confirm messages are from legitimate businesses or government agencies before interacting with links.

Consumers who receive scam messages should report them to the Scamwatch service and provide as much detail as possible at

Consultation is open until 20 March 2024. To have your say, visit:

Quotes attributable to Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

“The Albanese Government’s innovative SMS Sender ID Registry is helping to stop criminals from ripping Australians off through sophisticated text message scams.

“We’re committed to a national rollout of the Registry that works for both Australians and the businesses that serve them.

“Feedback from consumers, businesses, charities and government services will help inform the next phase of the Registry, including on whether the scheme should be mandatory. I encourage all interested Australians to have their say”.

Quotes attributable to Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services, the Hon Stephen Jones MP

“The government went to the election with a commitment to fight scammers, and we are doing exactly that.

“We’re taking on scammers at every angle; from disrupting their ability to communicate with Australians, to putting obligations on banks, telcos and social media platforms to protect consumers.

“The registry is an important next step in our fight, but we know these criminals continue to prey on Australians and we urge people to remain vigilant.”