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Sign the petition for stronger scam protections

Scams are on the rise, but businesses like banks and digital platforms aren’t doing enough to protect people.

 

Call on the government to implement strong rules that force businesses to detect and prevent scams – and require banks to reimburse victims.

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Let’s stop scams ruining lives

Update: Your petition for stronger scam protections has been delivered! Sign up to join the campaign for updates.

Scammers exploit our humanity – they try to get us on our worst days, prey on people at their most vulnerable and take advantage of our emotions. But at the moment, the majority of victims are left to bear both the emotional and financial cost of scams alone.

Unfortunately, scams are on the rise. In 2022, Australians lost $3.1 billion to scams, a staggering 80% increase from the year before. Scams are devastating, sometimes life-ruining, financial crimes often perpetrated by sophisticated criminal syndicates. For many of us, the barrage of scam calls, messages and ads we receive every day is exhausting. 9 in 10 people suspect they’ve been the target of a scam in the last 12 months, with over half suspecting they encounter a scam every week, according to our latest nationally representative survey. 

The government has committed to tackle scams and will be asking to hear from businesses, organisations and people like you soon. This is a crucial opportunity to make sure their plan includes strong rules that legally require companies to detect and prevent scams – with strong penalties if they fail.  As bank transactions are involved in so many scams, banks must also be required to reimburse victims when they fail to prevent fraud. This will put the onus on companies to stop their systems and infrastructure being exploited by scammers once and for all. 

Businesses like banks are already starting to push back on changes that would hold them accountable for keeping you safe. But if we can show the government that thousands of people expect better from the businesses that they’ve trusted with their money and personal information, they’ll know they have strong public support to get this over the line. We all have a role to play in keeping people safe from scams, but the staggering increase in scam losses shows that businesses won’t step up until they're forced to.

Detect

Businesses must be required to use their knowledge and resources to detect scams quickly.

Prevent

Once detected, businesses must act fast to prevent scams from harming people – and face strong penalties if they fail to take appropriate action.

Reimburse

If protections fail, it should be mandatory for the banks involved in the scam to reimburse victims for stolen funds.

If you've been the victim of a scam:

  1. Contact your bank immediately.

  2. Seek support from IDCARE.
  3. Visit Scamwatch for a helpful guide on what to do if you've been scammed.

Being scammed is a horrible experience. If you need somebody to talk to, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14 for immediate assistance. 

If you’ve spotted a scam, report it to Scamwatch.

FAQ

Right now, the majority of victims are left to bear both the emotional and financial cost of scams alone. In the 2021/2022 financial year, ASIC found that the reimbursement and/or compensation rate of the big four banks ranged between only 2 to 5%. 

Mandatory reimbursement would incentivise banks to do more to detect and prevent scams. In 2022, the big four banks detected and stopped only 13% of scam payments. But in the UK, the banks that committed to a voluntary code that required them to reimburse victims reported a 19% reduction in scam losses compared to the previous year. The UK has since made it mandatory for banks to reimburse victims, except where they have acted fraudulently or with gross negligence – a measure that will come into force next year. It’s time Australia picks up its game to combat scam harm now.

If you encounter one or more of the following, you could be looking at a scam. Stop and check if what you've come across is genuine:

- A person or a message urging you to act quickly, whether it's a threat to make an urgent payment or news of a limited opportunity too good to miss.

- Communication asking you to update or provide your personal details, such as identifying information, banking details or passwords, or asking to remotely access your device.

- An email or text message from an unfamiliar number or contact (or even one that appears to be from an organisation you trust or have had dealings with) that asks you to click on any type of link.

- Any request for payment via unsecure or unusual methods such as cryptocurrency, gift cards or bank transfer.

- A suspicious message from someone you know, in which they claim they have new contact details or ask for payment to a new bank account.

- Anyone offering unsolicited financial or investment advice, or claiming you can make fast or guaranteed money with little to no risk.

- A seller you've already paid continuing to ask for extra money due to "unforeseen circumstances". This is especially common in pet scams.

Websites that appear similar to a legitimate store, but have unusual URLs, very large discounts, missing information and poor spelling and formatting.

But it shouldn’t be all down to you to stop these scammers – businesses should be looking out for these red flags too, and acting fast to stop them hurting people. The only way we can stop the growing harm caused by scams is by requiring businesses to work closely with the government to identify and intercept scams in real time.

If you've seen a scam you'd like to report, it's best to report it to the ACCC's Scamwatch.

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