Get spam smart
Avoiding or reducing spam
- make informed choices about giving your consent:
- be wary of competitions – promotions or gift card lotteries (online or in-person) are often designed to obtain your personal information and you may be agreeing to be contacted
- look out for pre-checked boxes when you buy products or sign up for services – untick them if you can
- check the terms and conditions to see if you are agreeing to receive marketing
- check you understand who you are giving consent to and for how long – is it one company, or does it include ‘third parties’ or ‘affiliates’ (which could be anyone)?
- check how long the consent lasts – do you really want to give consent for long periods?
- check how you can unsubscribe in future if you want to
- use the unsubscribe facility (such as a link, or instruction to reply STOP) if you are confident the sender has your consent (if they are sending you messages without consent, we want to know – see below)
- block the sender – using your email filters or your phone settings
- contact your telco provider for advice on spam filtering or phone blocking.
- tick ‘subscribe’ boxes (online or in paper forms) without being sure what you are agreeing to
- give your contact details for competitions, surveys or rewards systems without being sure what you are agreeing to – if you’re getting something for free, the cost might be your personal information
- click on links in an email or message if you can’t verify the sender – it could be a scam.
Spam or scam?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between spam and a scam. Find out how to spot and stop a phone scam.
Spam rules only apply to commercial electronic messages – those that offer, advertise or promote goods or services.
An email or SMS seeking to influence your vote or opinion is rarely covered by these rules – they do not need your consent to send it, and do not need to include an unsubscribe.
This may include messages sent during local, state and territory or federal elections, as well as those sent in the lead-up to a referendum or plebiscite.
Find out more about the regulation of bulk messages under electoral laws.
Complain or forward spam to the ACMA
You can also forward spam to us. This is not a complaint. It is a quick way to send us a copy of the message you have received to inform our compliance activities. When you forward spam to us, please do not edit the message or change the subject line. You can:
- forward SMS spam to 0429 999 888. Standard message charges apply
- forward email spam to email@example.com.
If you receive unwanted telemarketing calls, get on the Do Not Call Register – it’s quick, free and easy.
What we can and can’t do
- We educate consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities under spam laws. But we can’t give legal advice.
- We take complaints and reports from people who think a business has broken the rules. We can’t provide you with outcomes for individual complaints. Rather, we use the information you provide to inform our education, compliance and enforcement work.
- The more serious or systemic an issue appears, the more likely we are to take compliance action or to investigate.
- If a business breaks the rules, we can take enforcement action. Read more about actions we take.
- We can’t block messages sent to your phone or email address.