The ACMA hotline can only take action about prohibited or potentially prohibited material. Information is provided below on where you may be able to seek assistance for the following matters:
- Fraud and scams
- Email, instant messages, SMS and MMS
- Copyright infringement / Intellectual property
- Cyberbullying and harassment
- Suspected paedophile activity
Concerns about defamatory online content, or online content you believe has the effect of lowering your reputation are best addressed through seeking independent legal advice to obtain information about pursuing alternative legal remedies under state or territory legislation, or a rule of common law or equity.
Victims of online fraud should file a report with local police. For more information, the Australian Federal Police website provides an overview of who to contact if you're concerned about internet fraud and scams.
If fraudulent, incorrect, inaccurate or misleading online content seems to have originated from an Australian business, contact the fair trading organisation in your state or territory, also listed on the SCAMwatch website.
The ACMA investigates online content publicly accessible and in most cases does not include content contained in emails, instant messages, SMS or MMS. Exceptions may occur where the content is provided as part of an adult chat service, or a service that specialises in providing prohibited or potentially prohibited content.
Spam messages may be reported to the ACMA (see Spam below for more information) and your service provider should be able to offer assistance in dealing with unwanted messages and calls.
Harassment by email, instant message, SMS or MMS, should be reported to your local police station (see Cyberbullying and Harrassment below).
Please contact your local police if you believe the disclosure of your personal details puts your personal safety at risk.
In some cases you may be able contact the author or manager ('webmaster') of the content to request certain information (such as the unauthorised disclosure of your personal details) be removed. Contact details for this person are often located at the bottom of the webpage.
Complaints about the mishandling of personal details by a Commonwealth or ACT government agency, or a private sector organisation, can be made to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner in some circumstances.
In all cases independent legal advice may be useful to determine what other action may be available to you.
The Australian Human Rights Commission investigates complaints of discrimination and human rights breaches. You may be eligible to lodge a complaint with them if you believe you have been the subject of racially offensive, discriminatory, or abusive behaviour.
Copyright infringement / Intellectual property
If you believe certain online content infringes your intellectual property rights or copyright law, consider seeking independent legal advice to determine the appropriate legal options available to you.
IP Australia administers Australia's intellectual property rights system and provides helpful advice and information about this area of law in Australia.
Similarly, the Australian Copyright Council provides information for people who are concerned that their copyright has been infringed.
If your complaint concerns copyright theft of a film or television program, you may be able to report the matter to the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
If you are receiving unsolicited commercial electronic messages ('junk mail') to your email account, mobile phone, or instant messaging program, you can report it to the ACMA. The ACMA is responsible for enforcing the Spam Act and actively works to fight spam in Australia. Please visit the spam page to find out more information and how to lodge a complaint.
If you have fears for your safety, the ACMA advises that you contact your local police.
The ACMA has a dedicated cyber-safety site which provides activities, resources and practical advice concerning online safety, including cyber bullying. Developed by the ACMA, Cybersmart is part of the Australian Government's cybersafety program. Please visit Cybersmart for more information.
Social networking websites generally have policies outlining certain content that may not be posted by users. However, website administrators generally rely on complaints from other users to identify content that is not permitted and will usually enable users to 'Flag' or 'Report' inappropriate posts. Once notified of such content website administrators may take action to remove it.
Please visit the following safety pages for further information:
- Facebook's safety centre
- Twitter's safety page
- Blogspot's content policy page
- Flickr's report abuse page
Grooming and procuring of children over the internet is investigated by the Australian Federal Police (the AFP).
If you know about a child who is in immediate danger or risk please call 000.
Suspicious online behaviour may involve a person suspected of being an adult who has been having a conversation with a child online and is saying and doing inappropriate things or trying to meet up with the child in the real world. Young persons may also be lured into revealing personal information or images online. You can report suspected illegal activity online by using the AFP's online child sex exploitation form or by clicking on the "Report Abuse" button on the ThinkUKnow or Virtual Global Taskforce websites.
If you want to make an anonymous report you can call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.