Anti-scam SMS register pilot underway

The federal government is rolling out a trial of its anti-scam SMS Sender ID Registry, with a number of organisations coming onboard.

Michelle Rowland

The SMS Sender ID Registry aims to help telcos prevent scammers from imitating legitimate brands and companies, such as Australia Post or the Commonwealth Bank, in text messages seeking to defraud people of money.

Legitimate entities will be able to register their Sender ID with the registry, and telcos will then be able to block fake incoming messages.

A number of organisations have already joined the pilot, communications minister Michelle Rowland says, and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will formally invite additional organisations that have been the subject of text scams to participate from early 2024.

Participating telcos include Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom and Pivotel.

This voluntary pilot phase will test the operation and effectiveness of the registry before the government moves towards a finalised scheme in 2024.

“The new SMS Sender ID Registry is an important tool to take these scammers on and disrupt their criminal activities,” Ms Rowland said.

“This trial will help the Government improve the system before a full national rollout next year.”

The registry was announced in the 2023-24 Federal Budget, with ACMA receiving $10 million over four years to launch and maintain it.

The government is also establishing a National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) within the ACCC as a public-private sector partnership to disrupt and stop scammers in Australia.

More than 47 per cent of Australians have reported exposure to fake or deceptive text messages in the last year, and in 2022 Australians lost an estimated $3.1 billion to scams, the government says.

Text message are the leading contact method for scams according to the ACCC.

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