In 2018, $15.7 million was reported lost after the victim received a prompt through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. These losses totaled nearly 14.7 per cent of the total losses reported.
Of this, $9.3 million was through dating and romance scams, with nearly 34 per cent of reports resulting in financial loss to the victim. In total, the ACCC Scamwatch website received 6,828 reports, which is an increase of 2,117 from the previous year.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickards believes scammers are adapting old scams with new technologies, seeking payments in unusual methods to increase their reach to potential victims.
“Scammers increasingly ask for money via iTunes cards, Google Play cards and cryptocurrencies to avoid the anti-scam measures employed by banks and money laundering detection systems,” said Ms Rickards.
In November, reports from the ATO suggested scams have increased by over 900 per cent using pressure, fear tactics and technology to make victims part from their money.
It’s not only individuals, but also Australian businesses that are being compromised with reports of losses exceeding $60 million in 2018.
Scammers are hacking business email systems and impersonating key personnel in emails, requesting that the victims change key account details so money is transferred to the scammer’s account instead of where it should go.
“The ACCC has been working with banks, financial intermediaries and online classified sites to disrupt scams, but this year we, along with the ACMA and ACSC, would also like to see social media platforms and telecommunications providers doing more to limit the ability of scammers to connect with victims,” Ms Rickard said.
Cameron Micallef is a journalist at Nest Egg, writing primarily about personal wealth and economic markets.
Prior to this, Cameron worked for Australian Associated Press. He graduated from the University of Wollongong with a double degree in communications and commerce.