A minister for “scambusting” would lead the fight to stop Australians being ripped off billions of dollars each year if Labor wins the next federal election.

The scambuster minister would work to protect Australian consumers and small businesses, in particular, by setting up a National Anti-Scam Centre that would bring together banks, law enforcement, telcos, the regulator and technology companies to share information and shut down scammers more quickly.

Scams are estimated to have cost Australians $33 billion last year.Credit:iStock

The National Cyber Security Centre estimates that online scams cost Australians up to $33 billion in 2020, and the number of Australians being targeted is rising rapidly.

These scams can include fake parcel deliveries, sham crypto-currency and investments schemes and false invoicing that targets small businesses.

Global money transfer company Western Union estimates that Australia is among the top five countries in the world for being scammed, a figure it calculated by the total dollar value of people defrauded.

Labor’s shadow minister for financial services, Stephen Jones, would likely take on the scambusting portfolio – an idea floated on British political satire The Thick of It – if the party wins the next election, which is due by May 2022.

He said there was an urgent need for a minister to tackle the issue because of the broad impact on households and businesses.

“We need a comprehensive strategy to tackle this – $33 billion last…

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