Scams

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

Read More Stopping SMS Scammers Posing as Legitimate Institutions

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Recent super fund data breaches and increasingly sophisticated super scams demonstrate the urgent need for industry collaboration on a super anti-scam code. Super Consumers Australia today is urging the Federal Government to prioritise the safety of Australians’ 24 million retirement savings accounts by introducing a superannuation industry anti-scam code.

Since 2022, up to 178,000 superannuation members across three super funds have been placed at a heightened risk of phishing scams due to known super fund data breaches.

Read More Advocates Call for New Super Anti-Scam Code

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Romance baiting scams cause significant emotional and financial harm to Australians, with Scamwatch receiving 484 reports of this scam in 2023. Despite overall losses nearly halving in the past year, reports to Scamwatch show that more than $40 million was lost to romance baiting scams in 2023. 

Romance baiting scams disproportionately impact people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, with reports to Scamwatch from these communities accounting for more than 30 per cent ($12 million) of total losses last year.

Read More NASC Warns Consumers to Be Aware to Valentine and Romance Baiting Scams

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A coalition of advocacy groups, including Consumer Action Law Centre, CHOICE and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, have come out forcefully stating that customer reimbursement, paid for by industry through a customer’s own bank, must be at the centre of the Federal Government’s proposed new scam laws. The advocates say the new laws must be urgently implemented by the end of this year to stop the billions of dollars that are being lost by Australians every year to scammers.

Read More Industry Liability the Clear Path to Scam Reform

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Jobs and employment scams were the fastest growing scam type last year, with Australians reporting over 4,800 job scams to Scamwatch in 2023 leading to losses of $24.7 million, compared to $8.7 million in 2022.

Reports to Scamwatch show that these scams are disproportionally affecting younger Australians aged 18-44 years old, including students looking for part-time work. People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including non-resident visa holders are also particularly at risk.

Read More Employment and Side Hustle Scams on the Rise

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“The volume of complaints escalated to AFCA has been increasing at an unsustainable rate,” David Locke, the Chief Ombudsman and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), said.  

“Scam-related complaints to AFCA have nearly doubled between 2022 and 2023. They continue to be of great concern to us. We are also seeing the impact of increased interest rates and cost of living pressures, with complaints involving financial hardship also significantly higher,” Mr Locke said.

Read More Ombudsman Warns of “Unsustainable” Increase as AFCA sees a Record 100,000 Complaints

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“Our advice to consumers is to never click on links in text messages or emails, even if you’re expecting a delivery. Instead, consumers should independently check the status of their delivery by going to the Australia Post app or website or the courier service they’re expecting the delivery from.”

Read More Consumers Warned to Stay Alert to Scams over the Holiday and Sale Season

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The 2023 Australian Consumer Survey has just been released and the figures are interesting, with a little over half of all purchases in Australia are now made online compared to 23% in 2016. The concerns of consumers also reflects this online trend as consumers making online international purchases are often unsure about the application of Australian Consumer Law (ACL), and as more and more people are targeted by, and are concerned about, scams.

Read More Consumer Thoughts: 2023 Australian Consumer Survey Released

Rank the Banks Other Lenders and Debt Collectors

Financial Counselling Australia, in conjunction with the state and territory financial counselling associations, released its bi-annual Rank the Banks (and Other Lenders) survey which found the big four banks performing well, but all other lenders failing their customers in financial hardship.

The survey collates the views of financial counsellors on how the banking industry and other lenders respond to customers in financial hardship. Undertaken in late September and October 2023, 431 financial counsellors responded from every Australian state and territory for a response rate of 42 per cent.

Read More 2023 Rank the Banks (and Other Lenders) Released

GLOBAL STATEMENT Stopping Online Scams Consumers International Congress 2023

As part of the 2023 Global Congress, Consumers International and members have launched a Global Statement to Stop Online Scams. As a member of Consumers International and as a consumer advocacy organisation, the Consumers’ Federation of Australia strongly supports this call to stop online scams. As Australia’s representative to Consumers International, CHOICE is a signature…

Read More CFA Supports Global Anti-Scam Statement and Coalition

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9 out of 10 Australians also support strong penalties for digital platforms who fail to detect and prevent scams.

“Tech giants such as Facebook, Instagram and Google are failing to prevent scammers from using their platforms to target victims, causing enormous amounts of harm to consumers globally. In Australia, losses reported to Scamwatch from scams on social media have increased to over $66 million in 2023, an increase of more than 40% on the same time period in 2022,” says CHOICE Senior Campaigns and Policy Adviser, Alex Soderlund. 

Read More Global Consumer Alliance Urges Governments to Require Tech Companies to Protect People from Scams

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Every Australian deserves equitable access to banking services. That’s why the Australian Banking Association (ABA) has broadened the scope of its accessibility framework to ensure the banking sector remains inclusive in a fast-changing digital landscape.
An important addition to the Accessibility and Inclusion Principles for Banking Services is a section on embedding accessibility into digital authentication processes, as the banking industry steps up its fight against scams, fraud and identiy theft. 

Read More ABA Updates and Broadens Accessibility Framework