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Youth and migrants target in the latest threat-based scams

  • October 26 2020
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Youth and migrants target in the latest threat-based scams

By Cameron Micallef
October 26 2020

Australians have lost over $8.8 million to threat-based scams, with young people and those in Chinese communities reporting the highest losses, new research has found.

Youth and migrants target in the latest threat-based scams

Youth and migrants target in the latest threat-based scams

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  • October 26 2020
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Australians have lost over $8.8 million to threat-based scams, with young people and those in Chinese communities reporting the highest losses, new research has found.

Youth and migrants target in the latest threat-based scams

The ACCC said scammers are pretending to be government departments and impersonating key officials such as the police or ATO to threaten victims.

People aged 24 and under reported losing more than $4.1 million to threat-based scams, and women reported losses three times higher than men.

“It is extremely concerning that young people are being so severely emotionally and financially impacted by threat-based scams,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“These losses can be devastating and they can also lead to a loss of trust in authority, meaning victims of threat-based scams may be less likely to seek help or advice from legitimate agencies in the future.”

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So far this year, Scamwatch has received over 18,000 reports of these scams, an increase of 40 per cent compared with reports across all of 2019. 

Chinese authority scams comprised 74 per cent of all losses to threat-based scams, over $6.5 million. These scams target Mandarin speakers in Australian and impersonate authorities such as the Chinese embassy, police or other government officials.

“Threat-based scams disproportionately impact people with English as a second language, including foreign students, who may not fully understand Australian law,” Ms Rickard said.

“Victims will often provide personal information to scammers, as they believe they are dealing with a government agency, and this can lead to identity theft or falling victim to further scams.”

The ACCC has told Australians to watch for pre-recorded messages a sign of a scam.

“Government departments will never send pre-recorded messages to your phone or threaten you with immediate arrest,” Ms Rickard said.

They told potential victims if they are concerned or have been threatened they should simply hang up and call the organisation directly.

“Never send money or give credit card details or personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust and never by email or over the phone,” Ms Richards concluded.

Youth and migrants target in the latest threat-based scams
Youth and migrants target in the latest threat-based scams
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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