Australia’s Department of the Treasury has recently proposed a consultation paper on a new framework for tackling consumer and business scams. The paper considers applying sector-specific codes and standards to banking and cryptocurrency swindles.
The document contributes to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) ongoing efforts against scams through the annual Scams Awareness Week initiative. It outlines Australia’s strategy to enforce mandatory industry codes specific to each type of scam.
The recently introduced “Proposed Scams Code Framework” consultation paper, announced on November 30 by Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones and Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland, seeks to define the roles and responsibilities of both government and private entities in combating scams. The Treasury emphasised the need for critical sectors to implement measures preventing, detecting, disrupting, and responding to scams, including sharing scam intelligence among sectors.
The framework suggests three main categories for assigning codes and standards, focusing on sectors particularly vulnerable to scams: banks, telecommunications providers, and digital communications platforms. Additionally, it introduces a “future sectors” category that would tackle cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and associated trading platforms and marketplaces.
The Treasury emphasised that scams in Australia led to losses of at least $3.1 billion for consumers and businesses in 2022, marking an 80% increase from 2021. Despite recent government initiatives to tackle scams, the existing efforts have proven ineffective.
The proposed mandatory industry codes aim to delineate the private sector’s responsibilities in addressing scam activities. Currently, the National Anti-Scam Centre (NASC), comprising the ACCC, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and specialised support services, collaborates to combat scams in Australia.
The Treasury will accept comments on the consultation until January 29, 2024