New Scam Registry to Bust Illegal Text Message Campaigns

New Scam Registry to Bust Illegal Text Message Campaigns

We’ve got good news for anyone who has received a text message from Linkt, MyGov, or the ATO only to find out the whole darn thing is a scam – the federal government is standing up an SMS Sender ID Registry, something it reckons will go a long way to blocking pesky scammers looking for a quick buck.

Announcement of the SMS Sender ID Registry comes ahead of the 2023-24 Federal Budget (which is a fortnight from tomorrow) and will be accompanied by a $10 million boost in funding to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which will be responsible for standing up the registry, and maintaining it.

While details on the SMS Sender ID Registry are scant at the moment, the assumption is that it will do what it says on the tin: A place where scammers will be thwarted and recorded. Hopefully they’ll also be tracked down and politely asked to never send a text again.

“The Registry will help prevent scammers from imitating key industry or government brand names – such as Linkt or myGov – in text message headers,” Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said in a speech over the weekend.

“This adds a new layer of protection for Australian consumers against scammers using these known brands to target and deceive.”

The SMS Sender ID Registry will have a phased introduction before an industry-wide model is in place, and telcos like TPG Telecom have thrown its support around the initiative.

“Almost half of all Australians have been scammed, deceived or exposed to a fake text message – just in the last year alone,” Rowland’s speech continues. “In 2022, Australians lost an estimated $3.1 billion dollars to scams. It’s an alarming rise that is having a devastating impact on people.”

The SMS Sender ID Registry follows a pre-election promise from Labor back in 2021 that declared its plan for thwarting scams was an anti-scam centre. The ACCC already does a lot of work in the scam space through its Scamwatch arm, too.

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