Tuesday, 24 March 2020 16:10

New draft telecoms industry code to combat scams released for public comment Featured

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Telecommunications lobby group Communications Alliance is seeking public comment on a proposed new industry code designed to combat scam calls to consumers at risk of being defrauded.

The release of a new draft industry code comes as CA warns that while vulnerable consumers are at the highest risk of being defrauded, even well-informed and sophisticated consumers can fall victim.

“Even those not defrauded are victims to an extent, as their telecommunications service is used to persistently deliver Scam Calls or in some cases their number is used (spoofed) to make Scam Calls without their knowledge,” says CA.

CA warns that the level of sophistication and agility now seen with scammers and fraudsters is one of the key issues faced by industry and says that in addition to the work being undertaken by the regulators to combat scammers and fraudsters, industry is also developing a range of technical responses to reduce Scam Calls.

The new draft Code has been created by a Communications Alliance Working Committee, chaired by John Laughlin from Telstra and included representatives from Australia’s major telecommunications service providers and from the industry regulator, the ACMA.

The Code sets out a process for identifying, tracing, blocking and otherwise disrupting Scam Calls, with the process built on improved information sharing between Carriers/Carriage Service Providers (C/CSPs) as well as improved information sharing between industry and regulators.

CA says the Code provides a framework for co-operation that industry believes will ultimately lead to the identification of scammers so enforcement action can be taken.

“Scamming is a genuine scourge that cost Australians more than half a billion dollars in 2018 and which continues to grow,” said Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

“Unfortunately, a large number of scams are perpetrated via telephone networks, typically by callers from countries outside Australia. This new Code is a very positive effort by industry to reduce the harm that criminal scammers can do to Australian consumers and businesses.”

The draft Code will remain open for public comment until 8 May, with all the comments and feedback received to be be assessed by CA as part of the process of producing a final code, before being submitted to the ACMA for consideration for registration, at which point its provisions will become mandatory and enforceable.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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