More than a billion phone scams have been blocked by service providers in the last year, new figures reveal, with more than 256 million scam calls repelled in the three months to July alone.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority’s quarterly report out on Tuesday reveals that while efforts from scamming syndicates remain persistent, telco service providers are increasingly abiding by a strengthened code to crack down on scams.

While about 143.7 million scam calls and 47.8 million scam texts were blocked between July and September last year, that figure had jumped to 256 million calls and 85 million texts in the April to June quarter.

That last quarter represented a 33 per cent increase in the number of blocked calls compared with the three months prior – although it is not clear whether that was because of an increased effort by scammers or service providers had improving their processes.

Australians reported at least $3.1bn in scam losses in 2022 – an 80 per cent increase from the year prior.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the latest figures were proof the Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMS industry code was working to protect Australians by blocking more scams than ever before.

Under the code, SMS service providers are to identify, trace, and block suspected SMS scams and conduct checks on organisations using text-based sender ID.

Carriage service providers are required to report to the ACMA blocked scam calls and SMS during each quarter.

“Disrupting scammers is a whole-of-government and industry effort,” Ms Rowland said.

“These syndicates are sophisticated, and all Australians need to remain vigilant.

“It’s pleasing to see that one billion telecommunications scams never met their intended target this past year.”

Ms Rowland said the government was determined to drive down the total number of scam texts and calls received.

“The Albanese government is committed to adapting to new scam threats, and that’s why we’ve funded a new SMS Sender ID Registry to combat spoof texts slipping into legitimate text streams and stealing personal data,” she said.

The registry will stop scammers spoofing trusted brand names like Linkt, myGov, or Australia Post.

The government has also launched an ACCC-led National Anti Scam Centre last month – bringing together service providers and law enforcement to target priority scams and share intelligence.

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By Rahul

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