Nearly 50 people attended a scam awareness presentation hosted this week by the Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie and her Centre Alliance colleague Senator Stirling Griff.
Other guest speakers included NBN Co Local Manager SA and NT Kym Morgan, General Manager SA Telstra Regional Australia Mark Bolton, National Australia Bank Victor Harbor Branch Manager Samantha Thomas and Senior Constable Libby Bruce from the Hills Fleurieu Police Crime Prevention Section.
Local MP Rebekha Sharkie instigated the presentation in response to community concerns about the scale of scam calls including NBN scam calls, on the South Coast.
"The South Coast has the oldest median age in South Australia with the average age around 60 years compared with the state average of 40 years and we know from Scamwatch statistics that older people are particularly vulnerable to telecommunication scams," Rebekha said.
"While I have been the local MP I have made contact with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the Treasurer and the Ministers for Communication and Home Affairs to advocate for action to address scamming.
"This meeting was an opportunity for residents to find out what the Government was doing in this space and to hear some practical tips about how they can best protect themselves from scammers.
"Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton believes Australia already has a strong criminal and law enforcement framework to protect residents from scam activities.
"However, enforcing Australian laws in international jurisdictions is always problematic and scammers are using new technologies to make fraudulent calls using an internet connection instead of regular phone lines."
Senator Stirling Griff told the audience that scammers used three main emotions to successfully defraud their victims' - fear, greed or loneliness.
"The key messages are be wary of calls that promote these emotions, particularly if this caller is making you feel fearful; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is; and never hand over or advise people of your identity documents or account numbers or other personal information," Senator Griff said.
"If you haven't already done so, consider registering on the Do Not Call Register (donotcall.com.au).
"Do not answer unknown calls or texts. Let the caller leave a message in the first instance.
"Please note that Centrelink does not identify itself or leave messages so keep that in mind if you are expecting a call from that agency.
"This is a practice that Centre Alliance will be questioning in the Parliament.
"And finally, if you are going to return a call or text, only call back numbers you have verified via White Pages or known online sites."
The presentation was also told that legislation had been introduced in 2018 that provided a framework for industry co-operation between agencies and telecommunication companies and gave police improved search and seizure powers and new computer access warrants.
Senator Griff also spoke about the Scam Technology Project Team established by the Federal Government and ACMA that was working with industry, ACCC and the Australian Cyber Security Centre to identify key scams and ways to stop them.
A report in the project is expected to be released by the Government this month.
"This project has a strong focus on investigating consumer and network call blocking and network traffic authentication protocols," Senator Griff said.
"The first action is mandating strong identity verification processes to stop mobile porting scams.
"Telcos such as Telstra are actively blocking identified scam traffic.
"Telstra blocked more than three million scam calls in a single month.
"Worldwide the estimate is there are five billion robocalls monthly."
Senator Griff said Centre Alliance continues to advocate strongly for tighter controls and penalties for scam calls and currently had a Bill before Federal Parliament that, if passed, would enable people to opt out of political texts and charity calls.
Media inquiries Genevieve Cooper 0421 201 112
Fast facts about scam calls
. 39% Phone
. 25% Email
. 16% Text
. 8% Internet
. 5% Social networking
. 90% of landline users (4 calls per week)
. 79% of mobile users (2.3 calls per week)