The government investment will make Australia a harder target for scammers, says the organisation.
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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will use the $58 million set aside in last week’s budget to complete the set-up of the National Anti-Scam Centre over the next two years.
ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe said the centre will be set up to make the nation a tougher target for cyber scammers.
“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 Ms Lowe.
“The centre will bring together the expertise and resources to disrupt scammers making contact with Australians, raise consumer awareness about how to avoid scams, and link scam victims to services where they have lost money or had their identity compromised.”
“Through increased sharing of scam reports and other initiatives, the centre will help inform finance, telecommunications, and digital platforms sectors to take more timely and effective steps to stop scammers.”
The ACCC said of the funding, $44 million will be set aside for the technology build, enabling the National Anti-Scam Centre to:
- Receive a report of a scam from any institution — private or government — and centralise the intelligence.
- Distribute data to those who need it most, such as banks to freeze an account, telcos to block a call, or digital platforms to take down a website or account.
- Analyse and act on the trends sourced from the data to disrupt scams and educate Australians.
Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones said the funding is about protecting Australians and taking the fight to the scammers.
“It’s about ensuring that when reports are made, wherever they’re made, whether it’s to the National Anti-Scam Centre, whether it’s to ASIC or state or federal police organisations, or to a bank or telecommunications company, we are sharing the information so that the people who need to know that there are scammers out there in the field are able to act on it quickly,” said Mr Jones.
“As soon as money leaves a person’s bank account, it’s almost too late. So, this is all about ensuring that we can knock the scams on the head before they get out there in the field.”
The funding will also see the National Anti-Scam Centre set up “fusion cells” and provide increased education and communications activities with the private sector.
“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,” said Mr Jones.
“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.”
The ACCC said the National Anti-Scam Centre would be phased in from 1 July 2023 and will have its capability, including data-sharing technology, built up over the coming years.
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