12 March 2024

Scammer crackdown shows early success as losses fall

A new report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission shows the Albanese Government’s plan to crack down on scammers is working. Today, the Assistant Treasurer released the National Anti‑Scam Centre’s second quarterly report that shows scam losses in October to December 2023 have almost halved compared to the same period in 2022.

This is a complete reversal of the trend that saw scam losses skyrocket.

Before the Albanese Government came to office, Australians were losing over $3 billion a year to scams. Of particular concern, scam losses had doubled and doubled again in the space of 3 years.

That trend has now flipped, and losses have significantly reduced in the first six months of the Government’s crackdown. In November 2023, scam losses decreased by over 50 per cent compared with November 2022.

This comes after the Government implemented its election commitment to crack down on scammers by investing $86.5 million in last year’s Budget, which included establishing the National Anti‑Scam Centre.

The National Anti‑Scam Centre is a world leading partnership between government, law enforcement and the private sector that uses cutting edge technology to disrupt scams before they reach consumers. The NASC also focusses on raising community awareness to help arm people with tips and tools to help protect them from scammers.

The second quarterly report showed scam losses from October to December 2023 reduced by 43 per cent from the same quarter in 2022, and 26 per cent from the July to September 2023 quarter.

Comparing data with the same quarter in 2022, we have seen a significant reduction in losses, including:

  • 38 per cent decrease in losses to investment scams
  • 74 per cent decrease in losses by cryptocurrency
  • 31 per cent decrease in losses by bank transfer

This is just phase one of the Government’s crackdown on these criminals. Phase two includes developing mandatory industry codes to impose tough new obligations on banks, telcos, and social media platforms to protect their customers from scams. The Government is also implementing Australia’s first SMS Sender ID Registry to prevent scammers imitating trusted industry or government brand names.

The Assistant Treasurer will launch the report at a Global Fraud Summit in London.

The Summit aims to create an international consensus to tackle fraud. The Assistant Treasurer will be joined by Ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The Quarterly Report will be available on the ACCC’s website at 8:00 pm, Tuesday 12 March 2024.

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

“Thanks to the Government's investment in tackling scams head on, our scammer crackdown is helping keep people’s money safe.

“Within six months the trend that saw scam losses double year‑on‑year has completely flipped – people's money is safer because the government is fighting back.

“Behind every dollar lost to scams is a heartbreaking story – we are working hard to intercept these malicious criminals before they can inflict pain on innocent Australians.

“While this report is a promising sign that our plan is working, we urge people to remain vigilant to scammers and keep up to date with advice from the ACCC to protect themselves.”