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Warnings issued as scams rise by 89%

  • September 28 2021
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Warnings issued as scams rise by 89%

By Fergus Halliday
September 28 2021

Australians have lost more to scams in the past nine months than they did during 2020.

warnings issued as scams rise 89 per cent

Warnings issued as scams rise by 89%

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  • September 28 2021
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Australians have lost more to scams in the past nine months than they did during 2020.

warnings issued as scams rise 89 per cent

The cost of scams in 2021 continues to rise, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suggesting that the last nine months have seen over $211 million lost to scammers.

Citing recent figures released by Scamwatch, the ACCC said that the last nine months of scammer activity had already eclipsed the losses seen across the entirety of 2020.

“It’s very concerning to see these scams evolving and becoming more sophisticated to steal even more money from unsuspecting people,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

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Although the proportion of reports involving a financial loss has fallen in 2021, Ms Rickard noted that those who do lose money are losing it in larger amounts.

She said that the average loss this year is around $11,000, which put it ahead of the $7,000 seen over the same period of time in 2020.

“Scammers are conning people out of more and more money, so it’s really important that everyone knows what to look out for and how to protect themselves,” Ms Rickard said.

Phone-based scams are of particular concern, accounting for approximately 31 per cent of  losses and almost half of the 213,000 reports received by Scamwatch over the past nine months.

In August, the new Flubot malware scam saw Scamwatch receive more than 13,000 reports in just eight weeks.

“These scams are particularly concerning in our current climate, as many people are turning to online shopping because of the COVID-19 lockdowns,” Ms Rickard said.

She noted that many modern scammers are opting to disguise themselves as major e-commerce operators like Amazon and eBay, tricking the unwary into giving them remote access to their computer, personal and bank details.

“Do not click on any links in messages that come to you out of the blue, and never provide any of your personal or banking details to someone you don’t personally know and trust,” Ms Rickard said.

Ms Rickard’s warnings come off the back of similar cautions issued by the Australian Banking Association earlier this month.

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

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. 

Warnings issued as scams rise by 89%
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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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