In October 2019, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, issued a formal direction to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to make new rules mandating stronger identity verification processes before mobile numbers can be ported.
Mobile number fraud is a form of identity theft where scammers steal personal details to gain control of a person’s mobile phone number. On average, victims lose more than $10,000 through this type of fraud.
The ACMA has set a new industry standard that will require mobile providers to implement improved verification processes (including multifactor authentication) before transferring customers’ phone numbers from one provider to another.
The Telecommunications (Mobile Number Pre-porting Additional Identify Verification) Industry Standard 2020 aims to prevent fraudulent number porting to stop identity theft that enables scammers to illegitimately access bank accounts, personal information and other consumer service accounts.
“Mobile providers will have until 30 April 2020 to comply with the ACMA’s new standard designed to protect Australians from fraud and identity theft,” Minister Fletcher said.
“The ACMA will actively monitor compliance with the industry standard and has enforcement powers to issue formal warnings or civil penalties of up to $250,000 to non-compliant mobile providers. The ACMA will have my full support in pursuing non-compliant mobile providers to ensure Australians are kept safe from scammers.
“I thank the mobile providers that have already put these measures in place and I make it very clear that I expect the others to comply with the standard by the end of April.”
The Government is committed to taking action against scams perpetrated over phone networks. Last year Minister Fletcher announced an action plan to combat phone scams.