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Australians lose over $200m to scams in just 4 months

by Reporter
06 June 2022 | 1 minute read

The new data, released by Scamwatch, has revealed a 166 per cent increase in losses from last year.

According to the ACCC, the real losses are likely to be significantly higher as only 13 per cent of Australians are expected to refer their losses on to Scamwatch.

Investment scams have been found to be the most prolific, resulting in some $158 million lost for Australian consumers, representing a 314 per cent increase on the same time last year.

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Of these, crypto currency investments have cost investors $113 million while imposter bond scams have resulted in $10.9 million lost.

Imposter bonds are when criminals pretend to be financial institutions offering favourable bonds or term deposits.

The ACCC confirmed that while the total sum of losses increased from last, those reporting scams had also decreased, showing a marked increase in the value of each scam.

“We are seeing more money lost to investment scams and so are urging all Australians not to trust investment opportunities that seem too good to be true,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“Australians should be very wary of anyone asking them to invest in or transfer money using cryptocurrency, especially if it’s someone you have only met online. Many consumers are unfamiliar with the complexities of cryptocurrency and this can make them more vulnerable to scams.”

ISCOVER

The Scamwatch results have also demonstrated changes in the ways in which criminals target individuals.

Text messages are now more popular than phone calls for criminals to scam Australians, with text message scams increasing by 54 per cent while phone calls halved.

“If you receive an unexpected text message or phone call from someone offering you an opportunity to invest, it is likely a scam and you should immediately hang up or delete the message,” Rickard continued.

The reduction in phone calls follows the Reducing Scams Call Code 2020, which has blocked over 549 million scam calls.

Similar rules are expected to be introduced for text messages later in the year.

Those aged between 55 to 64 reported the highest number of losses, with some $32 million lost.

[Related: Scammers leveraging SIM jacking for ‘unvetted access’ to personal data]

Australians lose over $200m to scams in just 4 months
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