Australia launches new initiative for blocking scam government texts

The federal government has launched a new initiative to block scam text messages posing as legitimate government sender IDs.

The new initiative was launched following a year-long pilot program that focused on capturing phishing texts appearing to originate from government agencies such as Centrelink, myGov, and the Australian Taxation Office.

“The success of this initiative is timely, given the use of MyGov has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have written to NBN Co, Australia Post, and the banks strongly encouraging them to apply the same process to text messages they send,” Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said.

According to Fletcher, the pilot program blocked around 2,500 scam texts over 12 months.

The initiative was developed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre, Services Australia, and the telecommunications sector.

At the same time, Fletcher provided an update on the Reducing Scam Calls Code, saying that over 214 million scam calls have been blocked since telcos were required to adopt the code in December. By comparison, telcos had blocked 30 million scam calls last year prior to the code’s rollout.   

At Senate Estimates earlier this week, Home Affairs secretary Mike Pezzullo said his department was

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