Federal Budget 2024 and Fighting Scams

The 2024 federal budget delivered funding to combat scams and online fraud. A new Scams Code Framework will be established with $67.5 million of funding from 2024-25.

Federal Budget 2024 – Fighting Scams

The Government will provide $67.5 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $8.6 million per year ongoing) to continue to combat scams and online fraud through the introduction of mandatory industry codes to be established under a Scams Code Framework and increased use of the secure eInvoicing network.

Funding will support:

  • Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to administer and enforce mandatory industry codes for regulated businesses to address scams on their platforms and services, initially targeting telecommunications, banks and digital platforms services relating to social media, paid search engine advertising and direct messaging
  • ATO to continue to oversee and operate the secure eInvoicing network
  • ACCC to improve public awareness of scams and help the public to identify, avoid and report scams
  • Treasury to develop and legislate the overarching Scams Code Framework.

Partial funding for this measure will be held in the Contingency Reserve pending development of the preferred legislative approach for the Scams Code Framework.

Scams are increasing

Australians reported more than 600,000 scams in 2023.  That’s an 18% jump in the year prior wherein 507,000 scams were reported.

Unfortunately, scams affect the most ‘at risk’ segments of Australia, mainly older people.  This has been cited in the most recent report by the ACCC.

Financial Services industry is vulnerable

Financial Services businesses are the main target for hackers and scammers as this is the most target rich opportunity provided to criminal networks.  The funds reaped from scams are used within criminal, terrorist and nefarious networks the world over.

Investment scams were the most lucrative areas which accounts for $1.3 Billion in losses from a $2.7 Billion overall reported number.  People over 65 were the most likely age segment to be targeted successfully for all attacks. 

Retail beware

ABS data reveals that there was a sizeable increase in card fraud as Australians lost $2.2 Billion in 2023. ABS reported that 1.8 million people experienced card fraud in 2022-23 and increase of 8.1%. 

Card fraud is specifically when a criminal uses debit, credit or EFTPOS card details to make purchases or withdraw cash without permission.  Australians aged 45-54 are most affected cohort. Married people were 3% more likely to be affected than people who were unmarried. The median amount withdrawn or spent in fraud was approx $200 per incident. That’s $6m per day with, a gross amount of $2.2B and net loss after reimbursement was $476m.

Online fraud and social media

A new emerging area for fraud is via social media. New ACCC figures show sharp rise in the older aged segment being targeted for online fraud and scams. These scams often were targeted campaigns from scammers using fake ads, impersonation of online retailers and digital identity impersonation. 

For all of 2023, social media scams took $95m from victims.

This consisted of:

Whatsapp: almost half of online fraud coming from WhatsApp. One WhatsApp scam totalled $6m in defrauded funds which targeted HSBC customers.

Facebook: one in five scams from Facebook.

Dating sites: just under one in five scams coming from dating sites.

Instagram: coming in last place for social site scams.

Tech giant Meta owns facebook, whatsapp and Instagram.

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