The Treasury has issued a consultation paper as part of the government’s process of developing a policy on tackling internet scams.
In the paper, the Treasury and the Department of Communications say:
“The government has committed to introduce new mandatory industry codes to outline the responsibilities of the private sector in relation to scam activity, with a focus on banks, digital communications platforms and telecommunications providers.
“Treasury and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts (DITRDCA) are seeking feedback on the proposed features of the Scams Code Framework outlined in the discussion paper, which would introduce obligations for these key sectors to combat scams.”
Introduction to the Consultation Paper:
Scams are a growing threat to Australian consumers and businesses, with financial losses to scams of at least $3.1 billion in 2022 (an 80 per cent increase on losses recorded in 2021). In 2022, 65 per cent of Australians were exposed to a scam attempt.
Scammers are becoming more technologically advanced and coordinated, enabling them to evolve and find new vulnerabilities to target, new ways to deceive consumers, and new methods to avoid detection.
Current anti-scam measures vary across the ecosystem of sectors and businesses that are targeted by scammers (scams ecosystem). While some sectors (like telecommunications) have industry codes to reduce scams, other sectors in the scams ecosystem have no specific, enforceable anti-scam requirements.
While many businesses have been responding to the increasing threat of scams to Australian consumers, the Government remains concerned that these efforts are often siloed within particular businesses or sectors, or that take-up of broader measures has been irregular across each sector.
There is currently no overarching regulatory framework that sets clear roles and responsibilities for the Government, regulators, and the private sector in addressing scams. The Government has committed to introducing new mandatory industry codes to outline the responsibilities of the private sector in relation to scam activity, with a focus on banks, telecommunications providers and digital platforms.
On 30 November 2023, the Assistant Treasurer, the Hon Stephen Jones MP, and the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, announced consultation on a proposed Scams Code Framework (‘the Framework’) to deliver the Government’s commitment.
This consultation paper has been informed by initial targeted consultations with regulators, industry representatives, consumer groups and people impacted by scams. The paper invites stakeholders to provide feedback on the proposed features of the Framework to inform Government decisions.
A copy of the consultation paper is shown below: