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Scam losses are down across the board following the NASC's inception last year, the minister says. Image by AP PHOTO
  • crime, law and justice

Investment scam crackdown pays dividends, says minister

AAP January 20, 2024

A crackdown on investment scams costing Australians more than a billion dollars a year is showing early signs of success, according to the federal government.

The call disruption initiative is part of a so-called fusion cell response designed to intercept contact between scammers and potential victims, and minimise losses.

The cells or short-term task forces, which include representatives from banks, telcos and digital platforms, are being co-ordinated by the National Anti-Scam Centre to tackle specific and aggressive scams as they arise.  

In the most recent success, a consumer was this week alerted to a bond scam before transferring $300,000 to the scammer to invest savings in a term deposit.

Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones says the outcome is a promising sign the approach is working as intended.

“Our scams crackdown continues to deliver promising results, with scam losses consistently down since we delivered on our promise to stand up a National Anti-Scam Centre,” he said in a statement.

“People are no longer left to fight scammers on their own, with a government committed to fighting the scourge of scammers and protecting Australians money.”

Mr Jones said scam losses were down across the board following the NASC’s inception last year.

Losses reported to Scamwatch have dropped 60 per cent in the new year.

In its first quarterly report released in November, the NASC noted overall losses were down 16 per cent and September recording the lowest scam losses in a single month since 2021.  

“This new data goes to show the strength of a co-ordinated public and private sector approach to fighting scams, which the government will continue to build  on,” Mr Jones said.