55 million scam calls blocked by the Reducing Scam Calls Code
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) revealed that telcos have blocked 55 million scam calls to Australian phone numbers since new rules requiring telcos to detect, trace and block scam calls were introduced in December 2020.
This number includes nearly 11 million ‘Wangiri’ scam calls where scammers ring from an international number, resulting in high premium phone charges for those who call back. The other 44 million calls were from spoofed or made-up numbers.
The Reducing Scam Calls Code was developed by the telco industry in response to the ACMA’s Combating Scams Action Plan. Chair of the ACMA’s Scam Telecommunications Action Taskforce Fiona Cameron said the code is having a real impact in the initial months after its introduction.
“The new data shows the code is beginning to bite. Each scam call blocked is one less potential victim and a step towards rebuilding confidence for Australians that it’s safe to answer a ringing phone,” Chair Cameron said. “However, this isn’t a silver bullet. We are seeing scammers become increasingly sophisticated so it’s important that telcos stay vigilant and keep up the fight.”
It is expected to see the number of blocked scam calls increase as telcos enhance their technology and capability to protect their customers. Furthermore, Chair Camerian advises consumers to also play their part in stopping scammers.
“If something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. If someone you’ve never heard from is asking for your personal details, it’s probably a scam. The best thing you can do is hang up,” she said.
According to ACCC Scamwatch data, Australians lost over $48 million to scam calls in 2020. Phone scams accounted for 48 percent of all scams reported.
Phone scam calls are an ACMA compliance priority, and telcos face penalties of up to $250,000 for breaching ACMA directions to comply with the code.
If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank and phone company immediately.