Scams

Losses reported to Scamwatch exceed $211 million, phone scams exploding

Scamwatch is urging people to be extra vigilant about scams after Australians reported a record $211 million in losses to scams so far this year, an 89 per cent increase compared to the same period last year, according to new data from Scamwatch.

The losses, reported between 1 January and 19 September, have already surpassed the $175.6 million reported to Scamwatch across all of last year.

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

Australians lose over $70 million to bogus investment opportunities

Investment scams reported to Scamwatch have cost Australians over $70 million in the first half of this year, more than the total losses reported to Scamwatch for all of 2020, and projected losses are set to reach $140 million by the end of the year.

Data from Scamwatch shows a 53.4 per cent increase in reports about investment scams received so far, up from 3,104 in the first half of 2020 to 4,763 reports so far in 2021.

In addition to taking victims’ money, scammers often commit fraud or identity theft using the information they obtained from the victim.

Computer takeover scams on the rise

So far this year scammers have stolen more than $7.2 million from Australians by gaining access to home computers, an increase of 184 per cent compared to the same period last year.

According to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, almost 6,500 Australians have reported phone calls from scammers trying to convince them to download software that gives access to home computers and their bank accounts. 

Culturally and linguistically diverse community lose $22 million to scams in 2020, reports from Indigenous Australians up by 25 per cent

Last year scammers stole close to $34 million collectively from people who identified as culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), people with disability, and Indigenous Australians.

Figures from the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report released earlier this week shows losses to the CALD community represented a 60 per cent increase compared to 2019, across 11,700 reports.

Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

Payment redirection scams were the most financially damaging scams for Australian businesses in 2020 according to the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report. Combined losses reported to Scamwatch, other government agencies, banks and payment platforms totalled $128 million in 2020.

Reports to Scamwatch show that Australian businesses lost $18 million to scams in 2020, a 260 per cent increase on losses reported in 2019.

Scammers capitalise on pandemic as Australians lose record $851 million to scams

Australians lost over $851 million to scams in 2020, a record amount, as scammers took advantage of the pandemic to con unsuspecting people, according to the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report released today.

The report compiles data from Scamwatch, ReportCyber, other government agencies and 10 banks and financial intermediaries, and is based on more than 444,000 reports.

Targeting scams: report of the ACCC on scam activity 2020

This report explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community.

Losses to car ad scams climbing

Australians have already lost over $288,000 to vehicle scams in the first quarter of this year, more than all losses reported to Scamwatch in 2019, and scammers have now begun impersonating defence personnel to con their victims.

In a vehicle scam, scammers post fake online listings offering to sell in-demand cars at well below market value to lure potential buyers looking for a second hand vehicle. Scammers seek payment to secure the car for the buyer but never deliver the vehicle.

Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $14 million

Australian businesses reported over $14 million in losses to Scamwatch due to payment redirection scams last year, and average losses so far in 2021 are more than five times higher compared to average losses in the same period last year.

Total losses are much higher as these scams are reported to a range of different organisations.

In a payment redirection scam, also known as business email compromise scams, scammers impersonate a business or its employees via email and request that money, which usually is owed to the legitimate business, is sent to a fraudulent account.

Romance baiting scams on the rise

Australians reported a record-breaking $37 million lost to Scamwatch last year for dating and romance scams. Total losses are expected to be much higher and scammers are now using dating apps to lure victims into investment scams.

This new technique, called romance baiting, involves scammers meeting people on dating apps and then moving the conversation to an encrypted chat site. After a few weeks of developing a relationship, the scammer will begin asking about the victim’s finances and encourage them to participate in an investment opportunity.