Scams

Rental scams targeting more Australians during pandemic

Australians have lost over $300,000 to rental and accommodation scams this year, an increase of 76 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Scamwatch has received 560 reports of rental scams so far this year, an increase of 56 per cent, with many using tactics related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These scams target people seeking new rental accommodation by offering fake rental properties to convince people into handing over money or personal information.

Government impersonation scams on the rise

Australians are being urged to watch out for government impersonation scams with over $1.26 million lost from more than 7100 reports made to Scamwatch so far this year and in reality, losses are likely to be far greater.

There has been an increase in scams reported during tax time such as text messages claiming to be from myGov or from agencies claiming to help victims gain early access to their superannuation.

Scams target all sections of Australian society including CALD and Indigenous communities

Data from the ACCC’s annual Targeting Scams report, released this week, indicates scammers don’t discriminate and are targeting a range of different communities in Australia.

In 2019, people who reported speaking English as a second language lost $13.7 million, an increase of 90 per cent on the previous year, despite the number of reports remaining steady.

Scams cost Australians over $630 million

Australians lost over $634 million to scams in 2019, according to the latest figures in the ACCC’s Targeting Scams report released today.

There were more than 353,000 combined reports to Scamwatch, other government agencies and the big four banks last year.

“Unfortunately it is another year with devastatingly high losses, and scammers are constantly finding new ways to defraud Australians,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Targeting scams 2019: a review of scam activity since 2009

This report provides key findings into 2019 scams, as well as insights into scam trends over the decade.

Don't get scammed looking for a lockdown puppy

Australians have lost nearly $300,000 to puppy scams this year, and scammers have been particularly targeting those seeking a furry companion during social isolation.

Scamwatch has seen a recent spike in puppy scams and in April reports were almost five times higher than the average, with losses on track to exceed the 2019 total of $360,000.

“A lot of people are stuck at home and going online to buy a pet to help them get through the loneliness of social isolation,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Scammers targeting superannuation in COVID-19 crisis

Scammers are now trying to exploit Australians financially impacted by the COVID-19 crisis with new superannuation scams being reported to Scamwatch in recent weeks.

Scammers are already trying to take advantage of the Government’s recent announcement that people suffering financial hardship can have partial access to their superannuation from mid-April.

“Scammers are cold-calling people claiming to be from organisations that can help you get early access to your super,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Warning on COVID-19 scams

Australians should be aware scammers are adapting existing technology to play on people’s fears around coronavirus and selling products claiming to prevent or cure the virus.

Since 1 January 2020, the ACCC’s Scamwatch has received 94 reports of scams about coronavirus, but warns figures are starting to climb.

Scamwatch has received multiple reports of phishing scams sent via email or text message that claim to be providing official information on coronavirus but are attempts to try and obtain personal data.