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Is TikTok the new kid on the scam block?

  • March 11 2020
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Is TikTok the new kid on the scam block?

By Grace Ormsby
March 11 2020

Australians under the age of 25 are becoming the fastest-growing target demographic for scammers, with the age group losing $5 million to scams last year alone.

Young people using smartphones

Is TikTok the new kid on the scam block?

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  • March 11 2020
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Australians under the age of 25 are becoming the fastest-growing target demographic for scammers, with the age group losing $5 million to scams last year alone.

Young people using smartphones

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that, in 2019, around 12,000 reports were made to Scamwatch from Gen Z.

While comprising just over 7 per cent of all Scamwatch reports, it was an 11 per cent increase in reports from the age group compared to 2018 figures.

It’s a concerning statistic, according to ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

“Scammers don’t discriminate based on age and the wide range of scams reported by this age group is concerning,” she said.

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“Young people may think they are tech-savvy, but scammers are adapting and we expect to see more scams on newer platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.”

The ACCC highlighted that Facebook and Instagram were the most common platforms for reports and losses by Australians under 25 last year.

The typical scam on each of these platforms involved fake online stores or the sale of fake tickets to events.

Online shopping scams were the most common scams, making up more than 14 per cent of reports and almost 12 per cent of losses among people under 25, it was outlined.

Ms Rickard said that almost half of the losses to people under 25 occurred through bank transfer, but she advised “you should also be wary of sellers asking for payment through unusual payment methods such as gift cards or bitcoin”.

“Always try to purchase tickets from authorised sellers and be aware that many links sourced through social media will not be legitimate,” she advised.

Sextortion scams on the rise

The consumer watchdog has also flagged how scammers are using social media platforms and email as forums for sextortion scams, “where they threaten to share intimate images or footage of you online, unless you give in to their demands”.

“In many cases, if you receive a sextortion threat from a stranger claiming they have compromising images or video footage of you, these images don’t actually exist, so delete the message,” Ms Rickard noted.

For anyone who is concerned, she advised contacting the eSafety Commissioner

Children also being targeted

Children’s games are also seeing opportune scammers preying on vulnerable persons.

The ACCC said scammers are targeting children playing online video games, such as Fortnite, by offering unlocked achievements or special items in exchange for money or gift card codes without ever transferring the item.

Ms Rickard said through targeting children, “scammers could obtain personal and banking information from the individual’s parents”.

“We encourage parents and guardians to ensure children do not share personal or banking details online, and if they think a scammer has gained access to their personal information, contact their financial institution as soon as possible,” she said.

Where such scams do occur, Ms Rickard has advised parents to “contact the platform on which you were scammed and inform them of the circumstances surrounding the scam”.

Is TikTok the new kid on the scam block?
Young people using smartphones
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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