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Experts warn of employment and investment scams as lockdowns ease

  • October 14 2021
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Experts warn of employment and investment scams as lockdowns ease

By Fergus Halliday
October 14 2021

Old and young Australians are facing different threats from scammers, but both need to remain vigilant.

employment and investment scams

Experts warn of employment and investment scams as lockdowns ease

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  • October 14 2021
  • Share

Old and young Australians are facing different threats from scammers, but both need to remain vigilant.

employment and investment scams

Scammer activity isn’t just rising in 2021, it’s thriving on the chaos of the pandemic.

Commenting on recent findings by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Proofpoint ANZ area vice-president Crispin Kerr said September represented more than just a record month for the costs of scammer activity.

“September revealed several concerning trends, with significant losses to investment scams for middle-aged Australians,” he said.

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Recent figures released by the ACCC and Scamwatch found the last nine months of scammer activity had already eclipsed the losses seen across the entirety of 2020 with a running total of over $211 million.

Mr Kerr said that the rise of classified and employment scams targeting young people left in the lurch by recent lockdowns were a growing concern, but noted that investment scams remain the biggest source of money loss throughout 2021.

“Compared to September last year where losses to these scams amounted to $6 million, the most recent figures paint a stark picture of the current reality,” he said.

Mr Kerr said that the latest figures released by the ACCC and Scamwatch revealed that it is middle-aged Australians who are suffering from these scams the most. 

Those in the 45 to 54 age group made up 40 per cent of the $18 million toll exacted by investment scams in 2021 to date.

“Investment scams can be particularly alluring, as they promise money or some form of financial compensation,” he noted.

Pointing to an overlap between the states most heavily affected by the pandemic and those hit hardest by investment scams, Mr Kerr recommended Aussies exercise caution and common sense to ensure their financial safety going forward.

While investment scammers are seeking out older Australians, Mr Kerr said that young people are being targeted by new employment scams.

“Scammers have also been taking advantage of the current job market by offering fake job and employment opportunities, commonly delivered via mobile apps and text messages,” he said.

Noting that the current climate can make this type of scams particularly appealing and effective, Mr Kerr urged younger Aussies to remain vigilant.

“These scams usually come out of the blue and sound too good to be true, which are two of the biggest red flags that something isn’t quite right,” he said.

Mr Kerr’s words of warning come as other bodies in Australia’s financial sector have issued their own, as the price and proliferation of scams have continued to rise.

“Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you are not expecting it,” Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said.

According to data released by the ABA, 66 per cent of Australians are targeted by a scam each week. Twenty-nine per cent were said to have fended off a scam attempt each day.

“Scammers don’t target one group over another; they target all people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia,” Ms Bligh noted.

Experts warn of employment and investment scams as lockdowns ease
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About the author

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Fergus is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He likes to write about money, markets, how innovation is changing the financial landscape and how younger consumers can achieve their goals in unpredictable times. 

About the author

author image
Fergus Halliday

Fergus is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He likes to write about money, markets, how innovation is changing the financial landscape and how younger consumers can achieve their goals in unpredictable times. 

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