The scourge of telephone scammers

October 14, 2019

Many Australians, including people in my electorate of Shortland, are fed up with telephone scams. They aren't just annoying; they are relentless, they are an assault and they are an invasion of privacy. If they are successful, scams are very damaging and very costly. Australians are frustrated that more progress has not been made by this government to stop the scammers. There is no magic solution, but there must be a greater sense of urgency to stop the scammers than shown by this government.

Around the world governments are trying out different systems and technologies to stop the scammers. The United Kingdom has introduced a free service combining network intelligence and user feedback to prevent calls from numbers on a scam blacklist getting through. Two million households signed up in the first three months, and nuisance calls are down 65 per cent. The United Kingdom has also tried handset technology to help the most vulnerable. In New Zealand the telecommunications industry has established a scam prevention code. The US is implementing technical standards to verify caller ID integrity. In that country, stopping scam calls is one of their top priorities. But what is the Australian government doing?

We are still waiting on a report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority as part of the Scam Technology Project it has led since 2017. This report must be delivered, two years after it was initiated. It must lay out a plan that is capable of delivering real protections and noticeable improvements. Elderly and vulnerable people are being harassed in their homes every day by phone scammers. Australians are fed up, and the government must act.

You can view the speech here