New register targets SMS scams

Worried woman looking at phone. | Newsreel
A SMS Sender ID Register would help consumers identify between legitimate and fake texts. | Photo: Her Stock Art

A system which helps phone users identify scam SMS is a step closer with legislation to establish an SMS Sender ID Register introduced into Federal parliament today.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) said the register would help consumers more easily distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent texts.

ACCAN Acting CEO Dr Gareth Downing said an SMS Sender ID Register was a crucial step to improving outcomes for telecommunications consumers impacted by scams.

Dr Downing said SMS was now the most reported method used by scammers to deceive consumers, causing $26.9 million in consumer losses in 2023.

“An SMS Sender ID Register will help consumers more easily determine whether a text message is a scam or legitimate notification from businesses, service providers and government,” he said.

Dr Downing said the register would play a pivotal role in reducing the amount of scam contacts and losses experienced by Australians and he called on the government to ensure it was mandatory and underpinned by a robust compliance framework.

“International experience of the effectiveness of mandatory Registers is compelling.

“After establishing a mandatory SMS Sender ID Register, Singapore saw a 64 percent decline in scam SMS messages.”

Dr Downing said the register would facilitate greater confidence between the senders and recipients of SMS communications – benefiting consumers, small businesses and service providers.