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Australian Government - Office of the Australian Information Commissioner - Home

Spam and how to stop it

What is spam?

Spam is an unsolicited electronic ‘junk mail’ message, often sent out to many people at the same time by email or text message. Spam may advertise or offer you unsolicited goods, services, land, or business and investment opportunities.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

You have a few options when it comes to dealing with spam. Whatever you do, don't reply to spam — this can make the situation worse. Many spam messages invite a reply just to test whether your email address is 'live' — or active. If you respond to the message, this could mean more spam being sent to you. If you're not sure whether a message is spam from an illegitimate source, the best thing to do is delete the message.

If you know the business sending the message and just want to ask it to stop, it is usually best to contact it first.

You may also want to consider installing a spam filter on your computer.

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Who can I complain to about receiving spam?

Spam is mostly regulated by the Spam Act 2003 (Spam Act), which is administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). If you are having a problem with a spammer and you think they might be based in Australia, it's possible that they are breaching the Spam Act.

Complaints about spam and spam scams (email, instant messages, SMS and MMS) can be made to the ACMA at, on 1300 855 180 or forward SMS spam to 0429 999 888.

This site also has useful information on the Spam Act, spam reduction, and internet security tips.

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Other places to go

(Note: the following websites were not created and are not endorsed by the OAIC. The descriptions below were supplied by the organisations listed.)

Australian Communications and Media Authority
The ACMA is responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications, including information on spam and consumer alerts.

Do Not Call Register
The Do Not Call Register is run by the ACMA, once your numbers are listed on the register, telemarketers and fax marketers must not contact you.

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