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Monday, 27 June 2022 15:40

Regulator ACMA targets SMS and identity theft phone scams as compliance priorities Featured

By Staff Writer

Telecommunications industry regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will focus on combating SMS and identity theft phone scams as part of its compliance priorities for 2022–23.

The ACMA warns that phone scams have severe financial and social impacts on Australians and it will be enforcing new rules that require telcos to use stronger ID checks for transactions targeted by scammers, including SIM swap requests - and will also be establishing and enforcing new rules to reduce SMS scams.

In a further warning, the ACMA cautions that in 2022–23 it will focus on combating misinformation and disinformation on digital platforms, noting that concerns have grown about the spread of harmful disinformation and misinformation online.

“This type of content poses risks to the health and safety of individuals, and society as a whole, especially in the context of COVID-19, elections and geopolitical conflicts.

“We will continue to review digital platforms’ data and performance measures under the industry code and advise government on their effectiveness.”

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the identified compliance priorities target issues that have potential to cause considerable financial and social harm to the Australian community.

“SMS scams have risen sharply over the last year, and we will soon be registering new rules for telcos requiring them to track and block those messages,” O’Loughlin said.

“Online misinformation is also a growing cause for concern, so we will continue to review digital platforms’ performance under the recently implemented industry code and advise government on their effectiveness.”

Another ACMA compliance priority that it has announced is online gambling, with the authority supporting Australians through the launch of a new national self-exclusion register in early 2022–23.

The register will cover licensed online and telephone betting services such as those offering betting on horse racing and sports, and people will be able to exclude themselves from these services for anywhere between three months to permanently.

“The register will provide an avenue for people who want help changing their gambling habits and will complement existing consumer protection measures,” O’Loughlin said.

“Once you choose to self-exclude, it will be an offence for a licensed wagering provider to open an account for you, take a bet from you or to market gambling services to you. The ACMA will be enforcing those rules.”

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