This news will resonate with pretty much every Aussie with a phone – Scams suck and they are seemingly getting more common. This week ACMA signed off on a new code that should see the telco industry work together to help crack down on these scammers.

You know the drum, you get a phone call from a number that appears local, perhaps even a mobile number, but the person on the other end doesn’t seem to be a local and they’re selling something hot right now – like Solar Panels perhaps.

Or you receive a text message saying you’ve won a prize, or there’s a deal on at your favourite shop.

These are scammers, chipping away hundreds of thousands of calls and messages at a time trying to hook a few Aussies on their bait.

Our big telcos say they blocked over 30 million scam calls in the last 12 months alone as they started to work on a new code to agree on the best way forward to help Aussies.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch suggests Australians have lost $35.6 million to scam calls in 2020 so far – just as alarming, scam calls made up 46 percent of all scams reported.

To combat this, the major telcos and the industry overall have agreed to a new set of rules which are aimed at reducing these pesky scam calls.

The “Reducing Scam Calls Code” is a set of processes for identifying, tracing, blocking and disputing scam calls.

At its heart, this starts with better communication between the telcos as well as relevant government agencies.

ACMA’s Fiona Cameron applauded the code as a significant step for consumers in Australia, saying “The code is a unique and ground-breaking contribution to global regulatory efforts to prevent the harms caused by scammers. It is a holistic, end-to-end framework for effective scam reduction activity,”.

“There is no silver bullet to reduce scams, but these new rules place clear obligations on industry to do more to protect their customers and build confidence that it’s safe to answer a ringing phone.”

“The end game is to stop scammers in their tracks wherever possible and the ACMA will enforce this code to make sure telcos are meeting their obligations to their customers.”

Industry body the Communications Alliance is of course supportive, with CEO, John Stanton, applauding the efforts of the industry to build the code together “There is a shared recognition that scam calls are financially damaging and distressful to thousands of Australians and need to be curbed through concerted joint efforts,”.

“We welcome the collaborative approach taken by the Federal Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher and regulators, in concert with industry, to combat this problem.

“Millions of scam calls have been blocked in recent trial initiatives and service providers are investing in new technologies and processes to enable them to realise the objectives and requirements of the new Code,” Mr Stanton concluded.

Here’s to less bloody scammers in 2021.