Snitch on a scammer: Aussies lose over $1 million a day to scams

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Most Aussies say they know how to spot a scam. Typos, grammatical errors, and demanding language usually sound alarm bells. While some can be easy to spot, others can throw them for a loop. Some are polished, personalised, and well-written, which makes it much harder for the average person to realise they're looking at a scam. 

According to data from the ACCC’s Scamwatch, Aussies are losing $1.3 million a day to scams. That was $476 million in 2023! Telstra’s Cleaner Pipes initiative aims to block known scammer numbers from the Telstra network, thanks to the efforts of its customers. If Aussies receive a scam message, they’re urged to forward it to 7226 (SCAM). As of April 2022, the initiative has blocked an average of 23 million scams per month. 

As of May 2023, Aussies have reported over 250,000 potential SMS and MMS messages. Among these, parcels and delivery-related scams are the most common.

The initiative also revealed that customers were more likely to report a scam on Thursday than they were any other day of the week. In celebration of the leap year, Telstra is urging customers to take advantage of the extra day in the calendar. Use tomorrow, the 29th of February, to report dodgy texts and emails. SafeWise also recommends Aussies use the day to brush up on their scam knowledge. Learn how to identify an unsafe website or text message, and learn about the new ways scammers are using AI to steal sensitive information.

Even though Telstra has blocked an exceptional number of scam numbers, some still slip through the cracks. This is why it's essential to learn how to recognise a scam and report it to 7226, Telstra’s national scam number. 

Snitching on scammers has never been easier. It helps to keep on top of current scams, not only for your protection but for the protection of vulnerable Australians. Cybersecurity expert Darren Pauli provided some key points customers should be aware of when reporting a scam number.

  • Forward the message, not the screenshot: Telstra’s systems aren’t perfect. While they can read text, they’re not very good at deciphering text via an image.
  • Scam, not spam: While unwanted marketing messages might be annoying, they can be blocked. Forwarding anything that's not a scam message to 7226 can prevent the filtering of actual scams.
  • It’s now or never: Scams can change by the hour. Failing to report the message right away can make it harder for the Telstra team to stop its circulation and can cause more people to fall victim. Report the scam directly to the organization it's impersonating, Telstra's Clean Pipes number, and the ACCC's Scamwatch.

If you’re unsure whether or not you’re dealing with a scammer, consult Telstra’s Active Scams page, and do not click on any embedded links or attachments.

Hannah Geremia
Written by
Hannah has had over six years of experience in researching, writing, and editing quality content. She loves gaming, dancing, and animals, and can usually be found under a weighted blanket with a cup of coffee and a book.

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