Have you been inundated with text message scams lately? Well, you could soon receive fewer of them, with the government promising a major crackdown in the May federal budget.
The budget will provide $10 million over four years to establish a new SMS sender ID registry. This registry will act as a blocking list and help stop scammers from impersonating major brands and government agencies such as Linkt, myGov, Australia Post or your bank.
Almost half of Australia’s population received a fake SMS message in the past year alone, with Aussies losing an estimated $3.1 billion to scams.
Text messages were the leading contact method for scammers, according to the ACCC, making up one in three scam reports, compared to 29 per cent for phone calls.
Scammers are currently able to copy or ‘spoof’ message headers from real brands and send fake messages in the same message thread as genuine messages. Common examples include fake Australia Post delivery text messages or fake ATO ‘refunds’.
The new registry will let brands register their sender ID and telcos will then be able to block messages that aren’t legitimate from trying to use that sender ID.
The federal government asked the Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate the new registry back in February, which has been successful in stopping scammers in other countries.
“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,” Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said.
Rowland said the government hoped to have the registry set up and running within 12 months.
TPG Telecom said it had blocked more than 22 million scam text messages this year alone, with the most common scams impersonating Commonwealth Bank, Australia Post, the ATO, Netflix, and e-toll companies such as Linkt.