New multi-million centre to crack down on scammers

May 15, 2023 08:49 AM AEST | By AAPNEWS
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A new multi-million dollar anti-scam centre will be the latest tool in the government's arsenal to crack down on fraud.

More than $86 million was set aside in the recent federal budget to create a National Anti-Scams Centre, which will be up and running by July.

The centre will be run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and will be a partnership with government agencies, banks, telco companies and online platforms to stop scams from taking place.

Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones said information sharing between partners would be critical in an effort to stop scams before money is taken from customers.

"We're going in there, we'll be doing disruption activity to ensure (the scammers') job of stealing money from Australians is going to be harder and harder and harder," he told ABC TV on Monday.

"If we get reports of a scam that's out in the field targeting most small businesses ...we want to be able to notify banks, we want to be able to notify small business organisations and we want to be able to notify law enforcement as quickly as possible."

It's estimated more than $3 billion was lost to scammers in Australia in 2022, five times the amount that was lost during 2020.

Figures have shown the average loss from a scam is about $20,000.

Mr Jones said the new centre would share information across government departments to interrupt scams in real time, as well as play a role in raising consumer awareness of scams that are taking place.

"We're also going to set up fusion cells, which are like a hit squad, where we're going after certain types of scams and taking the fight up to the scammers to ensure that they don't get an even break," he said.

"If we're doing disruption activity we need the capacity and the disruption and the intel the banks have, to work with law enforcement, to work with the ACCC and others to ensure that we can go after these scammers."


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