Australians lost over $634 million to scams in 2019, according to the latestfigures in the ACCC’s Targeting Scams report released today.
There were more than 353,000 combined reports to Scamwatch, other governmentagencies and the big four banks last year.
“Unfortunately it is another year with devastatingly high losses, and scammersare constantly finding new ways to defraud Australians,” ACCC Deputy ChairDelia Rickard said.
“This year we have included data from the big four banks which gives a morecomplete picture of how much people are losing to scams.”
Business email compromise scams accounted for the highest losses in 2019, withthe Australian business community, and some individuals losing $132 million.
This was followed by investment scams at $126 million, and dating and romancescams at $83 million.
Over the last 10 years of Targeting Scams reports, Scamwatch has receivedalmost one million reports of scams.
“When we combine Scamwatch reports with partner data, we see that Australianshave reported losing $2.5 billion over that time, which is astonishing,” MsRickard said.
“We know these numbers still vastly understate losses as around one third ofpeople don’t report scam losses to anyone and in the past far fewer scamreports to other agencies have been captured.”
“Some of these scams can last for months, or even years, and can leave victimsfinancially and emotionally devastated.”
Based solely on reports provided to the ACCC in 2019, scams originating onsocial media increased by 20 per cent and contacts via mobile phone appsincreased by 29 per cent.
“Over the last decade, scammers have taken advantage of new technologies andcurrent scams are using social media apps and new payment methods that didn’texist in 2009,” Ms Rickard said.
“In particular, a new trend with dating and romance scams is scammerscontacting the victim on social media apps or games which are not designed fordating, so it’s important to be aware that scammers can target you anywhere.”
Common techniques that scammers use to manipulate their victims include makingexclusive offers that you don’t want to miss out on, or asking for smallcommitments, such as completing a survey, to make the victim more likely tocomply with larger schemes.
“You can always say no, hang up the phone or delete an email, even if you’vesaid yes previously. You don’t owe the scammer anything,” Ms Rickard said.
If you think have been the victim of a scam, contact your bank as soon aspossible and contact the platform on which you were scammed.
The ACCC continues to work with the private sector to share intelligence aboutscam trends impacting their services, to assist their own disruption efforts.
The ACCC encourages people to visit www.scamwatch.gov.au to report scams andlearn more about what to do if they are targeted by scammers.
They can also follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter to keep up to date with advicefor avoiding the latest scams affecting the community.
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