Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Australians have lost millions to scams in the year so far. These are the worst offenders

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun13,2024
Australians have lost at least $73 million to scams this year, and while the consumer watchdog says the financial impact caused by them is falling, we’ve been warned to remain vigilant.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) latest report for this year’s first quarter found losses reported to its Scamwatch service, as well as ReportCyber, and the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX) totalled about $346 million — although the report does warn of potential duplication in reporting.

Scamwatch alone reported $73.2 million in scam losses, a drop of 10.8 per cent from the previous quarter.

There were 16,342 scam reports to ReportCyber — down 7.1 per cent from the previous quarter; 23,200 to AFCX (down 30.1 per cent); and 67,709 to Scamwatch, which came after rise of nearly 1 per cent rise from the last quarter.
The report notes that losses have continued their downward trend from the latter half of 2023.

But Neva Skilton, a senior ombudsman at the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA), warns: “There’s a scam for everyone and unfortunately AFCA receives complaints from every type of consumer.”

What scams are causing the greatest losses?

Only Scamwatch provided a breakdown of how scams are affecting Australians.
Its data showed investment scams continued to cause most financial losses between January and March, accounting for $47.1 million of losses.
Those behind investment scams may lure victims with fake ads or news stories claiming a celebrity endorses a particular scheme.
“If something looks too good to be true and sounds too good to be true it usually is,” Skilton said.

Dating and romance scams and phishing scams rounded out the top three, accounting for $5.9 million and $3.9 million in losses respectively.

What scams were the most reported?

Scamwatch received 27,848 reports of phishing scams over the first quarter of this year — up 5 per cent from the previous quarter.
In phishing scams, the scammer will masquerade as a legitimate business in an attempt to extract identity or financial information so that the scammer has enough information to access things like bank accounts or superannuation accounts and to open accounts in the victim’s name.

“If you receive a call like this hang up and contact [your] bank immediately,” Skilton said.

Losses from scams

Scamwatch has reported $73.2 million in scam losses over the first quarter of this year, a drop of 10.8 per cent from the previous quarter.

There were 8,544 false billing scams, in which the victim typically gets an unexpected invoice for goods or services that never were ordered or experienced.

Identity theft scams were the third most commonly reported scam with a total of 4,517 scam reports made.

What methods are scammers using?

In the last quarter, Scamwatch found that text messages, emails, and phone calls were the top three contact methods used by scammers.
Scamwatch also found that despite the decrease in losses from scams, there were increases in reports for these three contact methods compared to the previous quarter.

There was a 0.9 per cent increase in text message scams, a 2.3 per cent increase in email scams, and a 5.7 per cent increase in phone scams.

How can you protect yourself from scams?

The ACCC recommends using the, “” approach if you receive a message that seems suspicious
It’s an approach Skilton also backs.
“I cannot underestimate that a bank will never call you and transfer your money into a safe account,” she said.
For Australians looking for places to invest their money, Skilton encourages them to make sure they understand what they are investing in.
“I’d encourage consumers not to invest in financial products they don’t necessarily understand,” she said. “Talk to trusted family and friends and perhaps bounce ideas off them.”
One of the most important things can do to prevent scams is to make sure devices such as mobile phones are protected with strong passwords or biometrics.

“We do conduct a lot of our daily transactions on our mobile phones,” Skilton said. “When you have these means you have to take care to protect this device.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Australians have lost millions to scams in the year so far. These are the worst offenders”
  1. It’s concerning to see the significant amount lost to scams in Australia. The authorities need to step up their efforts to protect consumers from falling victim to these fraudulent schemes.

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