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Monday, 03 December 2018 11:13

Australians increasingly concerned about unsolicited scam calls: ACMA Featured

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Telemarketing scam calls still a concern to Australians Telemarketing scam calls still a concern to Australians

Unsolicited scam telephone calls still plague Australia, with a new report just released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority revealing that six in 10 Australians are more concerned with scam calls now compared to five years ago.

And according to the new Unsolicited calls in Australia – Consumer research report from the ACMA released on Monday, seven in 10 Australians say they don’t believe enough is being done to protect individuals from scam calls, while around two in five people are more concerned about telemarketing calls than five years ago.

The report examined the incidence of different types of unsolicited calls Australians receive, their concerns about these calls and the strategies they use to manage them – and also explores understanding and attitudes around consent and regulation of unsolicited calls, and consumer awareness and use of the Do Not Call Register.

And the report also found that scams and telemarketing calls are the most common types of unsolicited call, and seven in 10 Australians have received scam calls in the last six months on their landline and half have received scam calls on their mobile.

The ACMA says it has now established a Scam Technology Project to explore practical technical solutions to address the proliferation of scam calls over Australian telecommunications networks.

“Scam calls are more than a nuisance. They pose a real threat, particularly to those in vulnerable circumstances such as older people,’ said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“This project will investigate what can be done to disrupt scam call activity, including possible consumer or network-based solutions like call blocking and network traffic authentication protocols.”

O’Loughlin said the project will be assisted by a reference group with representatives from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Cyber Security Centre, and will also tap into industry expertise and experience.

The project responds to ACMA research, which found that more than half of Australian adults have received scam calls daily or weekly, and three quarters of Australian adults believe not enough is done to protect individuals from scam calls.

"Scam calls are more than a nuisance. They pose a real threat, particularly to those in vulnerable circumstances such as older people," O’Loughlin said.

“This project will investigate what can be done to disrupt scam call activity, including possible consumer or network-based solutions like call blocking and network traffic authentication protocols."

ACMA’s new consumer research also found that:

  • Two in five people are more concerned about telemarketing than five years ago.
  • Four out of five people believe they didn’t have an existing relationship with the telemarketer who last called and were confused about how or if their consent was obtained to receive telemarketing calls.

O’Loughlin notes that the ACMA has recently imposed significant penalties for breaches of the telemarketing and spam rules as part of its targeted compliance campaign.

“The level of consumer concern about unwanted telemarketing supports the strong enforcement action the ACMA is taking. The ACMA remains concerned about how these sectors deal with consumers, particularly how they obtain consent. We will continue to keep a close eye and take further action where warranted,” O’Loughlin warned.

The research informs an ACMA report to the Minister for Communications and the Arts concerning Australia’s telemarketing and spam rules, also released on Monday.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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