Australia’s government earmarked AUD58 million ($38.8 million) to the country’s competition watchdog to create a national centre to fight scams and online fraud by improving data sharing across of range of government agencies and the private sector.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) welcomed the government’s funding to establish the National Anti-Scam Centre, which will be phased in from 1 July with data-sharing technology capability to be built up over the next three years.

ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe explained the centre will bring together the expertise and resources to disrupt scammers, raise consumer awareness and link scam victims to services where they lost money or had their identity compromised.

“Through increased sharing of scam reports and other initiatives, the centre will help inform finance, telecommunications and digital platforms sectors to take more timely and effective steps to stop scammers.”

Lowe added text messages topped voice calls as the most-reported method used by scammers in 2022 , with almost 80,000 reports.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority introduced rules requiring mobile operators to identify, trace and block SMS scams in 2022.