Consumer Information: Unwelcome Calls and Messages Policy

If you receive unwelcome calls, you may request an unwelcome communications investigation from your phone service provider, or you can report unwelcome communications to the police, at any time.

If unwelcome callers phone number is hosted on the Symbio Network, your provider will initiate the unwelcome call investigation and flag to Symbio, if required.

 

Industry standards

The exchange of information between service providers to investigate unwelcome communications is governed by the Industry Code.

The Communications Alliance Ltd (the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia) provides standard procedures for handling unwelcome communications in the Communications Alliance Code for Handling of Life Threatening and Unwelcome Communications.

 

What to do if you are receiving Unwelcome Calls

If you receive unwelcome calls and/or messages, we recommend that you don't answer or reply. You may be able to block the caller/sender's number. Changing your number is a last resort, however, it can be done by contacting our phone service provider.

Unwelcome communications are at least 3 calls over a period of more than 24-hours and less than 120-hours, or at least 10 calls in a 24-hour period.

There are many types of unwelcome calls:

  • > Hang up calls
  • > Silence
  • > Hoax calls
  • > Scam calls
  • > Unsolicited telemarketing calls / messages
  • > Obscene, abusive or malicious calls
  • > Calls by predictive dialling equipment to randomly dial numbers

Managing unwelcome communications is governed by an industry Code, C525:2017 Handling of Life Threatening and Unwelcome Communications.

All staff in this area undergo background checks before starting work in the centre, and are aware of the requirements of the Privacy Act 1988, and the Telecommunications Act 1997.

 

Telemarketing calls

To avoid receiving calls or messages from unsolicited companies / sources, add your phone numbers to the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) Do Not Call Register. It can take up to 30 days for the changes to be updated after registering your number on the Do Not Call Register.

Adding your number should stop most unsolicited calls but some categories of callers such as charities or religious organisations, registered political parties, educational institutions, market researchers and companies you have an active ongoing business relationship with will still be able to call you.

 

Harassing or Life-Threatening calls

If you're receiving harassing calls or messages that are life threatening, contact the police immediately. They will liaise with us if they need further information.

 

What you'll need to provide 

Your provider will need the following to conduct an unwelcome communications investigation:

  • > The caller/sender’s number.
  • > Police report reference number, if applicable.
  • > Details of any requests you’ve made for unwelcome communications investigations in the past, if applicable.
  • At least 3 examples of unwelcome communications over a period of more than 24-hours and less than 120-hours, or at least 10 examples in a 24-hour period. All examples must include times, dates and call durations, if applicable.
  • > Details of the unwelcome communications. This can include descriptions of the language used, the tone of the calls or messages.
  • > As part of the investigation, the caller/sender may be sent correspondence requesting they cease any unwelcome communications.

 

Scam calls: What you should do

The ACMA provides simple steps you can take to identify a scam and reduce your risk of being ripped-off. These steps include:

  • > Being cautious - if you get an unsolicited call and the caller requests personal information, it may be a scam. Hang up and verify who they are by independently finding their contact details from a trustworthy source such as a phone book and contacting them directly. 
  • > Protecting your personal information and financial details-don't provide your details to anyone who has contacted you out of the blue who you don't know and trust. Even if they claim to be from a reputable company or government department it may still be a scam. 
  • > If you get a cold call from someone claiming you are entitled to a refund, have won a holiday or have a virus on your computer, hang up immediately. 
  • > Contact your bank immediately if you think you have provided your details to a scammer.
  • > Contact your service provider and report the incoming number if it can be identified and/or report the scam at the ACCC’s SCAMwatch website https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
  • > You can also contact the police for when you feel there is life threatening implications from the scam. The ACCC's SCAMwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au has more information on scams and how you can protect yourself from them.

 

Additional Information

We are unable to investigate unwelcome communications that were received more than 30 days ago.

We are unable to investigate unwelcome communications from overseas numbers.

To use voicemail messages as examples of unwelcome communications, you'll need to provide details of the time and date when the message was left.

Under Australian privacy laws, we are unable to give out any information about the caller/sender.

If you receive unwelcome calls, you may request an unwelcome communications investigation from your phone service provider or report unwelcome communications to the police, who will in turn liaise with us if the number is hosted on the Symbio network.