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Working Together to Make Australia a Harder Target for Scammers

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The devastating impact of scams in Australia can be greatly reduced if the government, consumer groups, and the private sector collaborate to make Australia a more challenging environment for scammers. ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb emphasized this point during her speech at the Law Council of Australia’s 2022 Consumer Law Forum.

In her address, Ms. Cass-Gottlieb outlined a three-pronged approach to combat scams:

  1. Disrupting Scammers’ Access: The first step is to prevent scammers from reaching consumers by disrupting their means of communication, such as phone calls, SMS, email, and social media. By cutting off these channels, we can significantly hinder scammers’ ability to target potential victims.
  2. Empowering Consumers: Education is crucial in enabling consumers to recognize scams. As scammers become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, it is essential to educate consumers about the warning signs and common strategies used by scammers. By arming individuals with knowledge, they can protect themselves and their businesses from falling victim to scams.
  3. Establishing Safety Nets: Measures need to be put in place to prevent consumers from transferring funds to scammers. Creating safety nets and implementing robust security measures can act as a safeguard, ensuring that consumers are protected when attempting to transfer funds to a potential scammer.

According to reports received by Scamwatch, ReportCyber, financial organizations, and government agencies, combined losses due to scams exceeded $1.8 billion in 2021.

However, when accounting for unreported losses, the actual figure is estimated to be well over $2 billion. These figures not only represent a significant financial burden but also highlight the emotional toll on individuals, families, and businesses affected by scams.

The fight against scams is an ongoing battle. As soon as one scam is shut down, another emerges. However, by fostering collaboration between the government, consumer groups, financial services sector, and telecommunications industry, we can create a formidable barrier against scammers. This concerted effort aims not only to prevent financial losses but also to minimize the emotional devastation caused by scams.

Let us take this as a call to action and make Australia the toughest scam target in the world. Together, we can make a difference and protect individuals, families, and businesses from the detrimental effects of scams.

(Source: ACCC – Australian Competition and Consumer Commission)

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