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Action on spam and telemarketing: April to June 2022

 Our key actions


The Wine Group paid $204,240 in penalties for breaching spam and telemarketing laws.


We made new rules to protect consumers from scams that target customer interactions with their telco. This includes changing SIMs to new devices.


We alerted the public about financial investment and COVID-19 test kit scams.

Compliance alerts

Over 660 million scam calls blocked since rules commenced in December 2020.


We announced SMS and ID theft phone scams and unsubscribe rules as compliance priorities for 2022–23.

Our 2021–22 priorities

Unlawful financial service marketing and phone scams were an ACMA focus in 2021–22.


Unlawful financial services marketing

Key compliance and enforcement actions and outcomes since we commenced our focus on financial services include:

  • 861 compliance alerts sent to businesses marketing financial services products, informing them of potential compliance issues with spam and telemarketing laws.
  • 7 finalised investigations into financial services businesses.
  • A 36.8% reduction in complaints about spam and telemarketing regarding financial services businesses.


Combating phone scams

We are taking the fight to scammers to disrupt their activities and protect Australians. During the quarter we:

  • Announced that telcos have reported blocking over 660 million scam calls under the Reducing Scam Calls rules from 2 December 2020 to 30 June 2022.  We provided de-identified complaint data to help telcos identify these calls.
  • Made new rules to protect consumers from scams targeting high-risk customer interactions with telcos. This includes SIM swap requests and billing enquiries.
  • Formally warned Symbio Group for breaching rules requiring the investigation and sharing of information about scam calls under the Reducing Scam Calls code.
  • Warned consumers about scammers sending parcel delivery SMS and email messages with unusual-looking links or requests to pay a fee to complete delivery.
  • Worked behind the scenes with telcos, government agencies and other trusted brands to disrupt phone scams.

Find out more about how to protect yourself from phone scams.


New compliance priorities for 2022–23

We have 2 new compliance priorities for the 2022–23 financial year relating to unsolicited communications:

  1. Combating SMS and identity theft phone scams. This involves enforcing new rules on telcos to use stronger ID checks and establishing new rules to reduce SMS scams.
  2. Enforcing SMS and email unsubscribe rules. We will focus on businesses that take no notice of customer unsubscribe requests or make it hard for them to unsubscribe.

Our compliance, enforcement and other work will not be limited to these priorities. However, they do give a heads-up to the sectors we regulate of our focus areas for 2022–23.  We also welcome feedback from consumers to inform our actions in these areas. Read more about our compliance priorities.


Investigations and enforcement

We commenced 2 investigations in the quarter, with 5 underway at the end of the quarter.

Investigations took 4.0 months on average to complete.

We monitored compliance with 18 court-enforceable undertakings setting out actions businesses must take, following previous investigations, to comply with spam and/or telemarketing laws.

View our enforcement actions for breaches of spam and telemarketing laws.

Find out more about our compliance and enforcement role and the penalties for breaking the rules.

Key compliance issue: ‘Re-subscribe’ messages

We’ve recently seen examples of businesses engaging in email and SMS campaigns aimed at consumers who have unsubscribed from marketing messages. These messages try to encourage or entice the consumer to ‘resubscribe’.

This is a clear breach of the spam laws. You cannot try to regain the consent of a consumer who has opted-out of receiving your marketing messages by sending them more marketing messages.

If we see this becoming a more widespread industry practice, we are likely to investigate potential non-compliance.

Learn more about the consent and unsubscribe laws.

Finalised investigations

Finalised investigations



Consumer complaints directly inform our actions and help us identify issues and trends. We also provide de-identified complaint data to telcos to help them identify and block scam calls.

  • 19.2% of telemarketing and 22.5% of spam complaints were about scams.

The most common complaints were about retail, financial services and the building/ maintenance sectors.

New chart 1


Please note: We also received 82 complaints about commercial instant messages in 2021–22.

Compliance alerts

We alert businesses about potential compliance issues raised in complaints where we can. We provide details to the business when the complainant has given us permission. If the issues continue, we may investigate. One alert can relate to several issues or complaints.

New chart 2


Please note: This report was updated on 16 February 2023 to correct some data discrepancies.  

More information

Find out more about spam and telemarketing rules and what actions you can take, including making a complaint.

Subscribe to our newsletters to get updates about our actions on telemarketing, spam, and scams.


Access the data

Download the data for the charts in this report.

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