National anti-scams centre set to open in July, as Australians lose billions to fraudsters | #youtubescams | #lovescams | #datingscams | #datingscams | #love | #relationships | #scams | #pof | | #dating

A national anti-scams centre is being established to help combat scams and online fraud, after Australians reported losing billions of dollars to fraudsters last year.

The federal government will spend $86 million on a national effort to prevent scams, including $58 million to create the national centre to report scams and distribute information to banks, law enforcement and vulnerable communities.

The government says the new initiative will change the way scams are dealt with by:

  • Facilitating faster responses to scam reports — when a report is made to police or regulators information will be shared more quickly
  • Establishing “fusion shells” — described as a “hit squad” of experts from industry and law enforcement to act on scam trends
  • Introducing a “white list” of approved phone numbers, with SMS messages will be blocked unless they’re from an authorised agency

Last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported Australians lost more than $3.1 billion to scams in 2022 — an 80 per cent increase from 2021.

The ACCC estimates that at least 30 per cent of victims do not report scams, so the true losses are likely to be far higher.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said he anticipated reports of scams would actually go up after the centre was established.

“We know we’re only getting and hearing about the tip of the iceberg at the moment,” he said.

“We want to know more, so we can act faster and act better to ensure that we can reduce the losses.”

Mr Jones said bank customers were overwhelmingly the main target for scammers.

“Banks are absolutely critical in this and some work we’ll do between now and the end of the year is working on codes of practice so there are clear lines of responsibility between banks and their customers, but we also need cooperative approach with banks and I’m confident we’re getting it.”

Heat on banks to step up

The banks are under increasing pressure to do more to address scams after the corporate watchdog ASIC released a highly critical report last month.

The report covered the big four banks — Westpac, NAB, Commonwealth and ANZ — and their scam procedures in the 2021-22 financial year.

About 31,100 customers at the big four banks collectively lost more than $558 million to scams in that 12-month period.

The banks only paid about $21 million in compensation to the victims and the rate of reimbursement was between 2 and 5 per cent.


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