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Law

Government crackdown on scammers begins

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Greater efforts to protect individuals and businesses against scammers have kicked off with the new National Anti-Scam Centre meeting for the first time this week.

The new National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC) has held its inaugural advisory board meeting, bringing together leaders across various industries to help tackle scamming in Australia.

NASC was announced in this year’s federal budget, when $58 million was allocated towards the initiative. Launching on 1 July, the centre will work to protect Aussies against scams, with ongoing work being added to the project over the next three years.

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“We’ll be using this funding to build the technology needed to support high-frequency data sharing with a range of agencies, law enforcement and the private sector, with the mission to make Australia a harder target for scammers,” said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deputy chair Catriona Lowe.

The first meeting of NASC board members kicks off the centre’s goal of preventing scams from affecting Australians.

The members appointed to the advisory board are:

  • Anna Bligh, CEO, Australian Banking Association
  • Andrew Williams, CEO, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network
  • Scott Lee, Assistant Commissioner, Australian Federal Police
  • Andy White, CEO, Australian Payments Network
  • Simon Callaghan, CEO, Blockchain Australia
  • Alan Kirkland, CEO, CHOICE representing the Consumers’ Federation of Australia
  • John Stanton, CEO, Communications Alliance
  • Stephanie Tonkin, CEO, Consumer Action Law Centre
  • Michael Lawrence, CEO, Customer Owned Banking Association
  • Sunita Bose, managing director, Digital Industry Group Inc. (DIGI)
  • Peter Gartlan, national coordinator, Financial Counselling Australia
  • David Lacey, managing director, IDCARE

Ms Lowe commented: “As scammers become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, a coordinated response across government, law enforcement, and the private sector is essential to combat scams more effectively.”

“The National Anti-Scam Centre’s advisory board will enable government to work with key industry sectors and consumer organisations to identify emerging scam and fraud issues, share information and coordinate our efforts to better protect consumers.”

The expertise given by the board members will help to minimise the threat of scams through the principles and guidelines established by NASC. Consumers have been placed as the key consideration for policy.

The advisory board will meet monthly, with the next meeting scheduled for 14 August.

NASC has been working hard to prevent scams since its establishment, with the first fusion cell being announced in early July. The cell’s goal is to reduce the number of investment scam incidents.

“Investment scams lead to the highest level of reported individual losses and cause emotional devastation for victims,” Ms Lowe said.

“That is why the National Anti-Scam Centre is prioritising investment scam disruption as its first fusion cell in an initiative that facilitates timely action by finance, telecommunications and digital platforms to stop scammers.”

She added: “This additional level of co-ordination and focus across government and relevant industries will target investment scam activity more effectively and help prevent further losses to these scams.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.