Scam victims head to Canberra to tell politicians why banks should be incentivised to stop scams

Tim Watkins, Sarah Gerendasi, James Green, and Nina Merrilees were robbed of thousands of dollars by scammers. They are travelling to Canberra today to share their stories at the launch of the new Parliamentary Friendship Group for Scams Protection.

The Parliamentary Friendship Group is the brainchild of Teal independent MP’s Monique Ryan and Kate Chaney, and Labor Senator Jess Walsh. It will meet for the first time in Parliament House tomorrow, Wednesday, 7 February, 12-1 PM.

CEO of Consumer Action Law Centre, Stephanie Tonkin has been invited to speak at the launch.

“Every day we hear terrible stories of people who have lost everything with no-where to turn. We are encouraging people to come forward and report their experiences and to share their stories so that the real extent of the crisis can be revealed, the time to act is now,” she said.

“For thousands of families in Australia, this is a devastating crisis, and the community expects banks to lift their game and start taking responsibility for reimbursement. We also want to see banks, telcos and online platforms set up of effective ways to stop the onslaught of scams that are plaguing Australians every day.

“We are also hearing that MP’s are struggling to assist their constituents who have been scammed and don’t know where to go. We have been calling MPs to invite them to the launch to support scams victims to come forward and share their stories. So far, we have been getting a good response,” Ms Tonkin said.

“We are calling for measures that have teeth and incentivise the banks to triple their investment to protect their customers from being scammed by putting bank reimbursement front and centre of any new regulations,” Ms Tonkin said.

Yesterday, Consumer Action Law Centre, CHOICE and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network submitted a joint response to the proposal outlined in the Scams – Mandatory Industry Codes Consultation Paper. The submission is available here.

Quote from Tim:
 “As scams get increasingly more sophisticated it is imperative that there are changes in legislation resulting in banks and telcos taking greater responsibility to protect their customers including the introduction of fraud refund guarantees as in the UK”.

Quote from Nina:
“I am travelling to Canberra to highlight the enormous challenges faced by victims who have been scammed and who then must commence the lengthy and stressful process of trying to recover their stolen funds. This process takes months of reporting, phoning, filling in online forms and emailing numerous organisations, only to be told that they will not be reimbursed for any of their losses. The impact on people’s lives is enormous.

“The ‘victim-blaming mentality’ of banks is shameful and until we successfully achieve change to banking legislation to enforce reimbursement of scammed funds, nothing will change and innocent people will continue to lose their hard-earned money”. 

Quote from Sarah and James:
We hope by sharing our story of the financial, but also the emotional impact scams have on people, we can bring about legal change and force more responsibility on banks to protect the everyday consumer”.


Media contact: Mark Pearce, Media and Communications Adviser, 0413 299 567,

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