Scams

Watch out for online shopping scams this holiday season

Losses to online shopping scams have increased 42 per cent this year, and Scamwatch is warning Australians to be careful when buying gifts this holiday season.

Scamwatch has received over 12,000 reports of online shopping scams so far this year, with almost $7 million in reported losses.

“More people have been shopping online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and scammers are now targeting people doing their Christmas shopping, including in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

Threat based scams targeting young people and Chinese community

Australians have lost over $8.8 million to threat based scams so far this year, and young people are reporting the highest losses.

Threat based scammers often pretend to be from government departments and rely on fear, intimidation and people’s instinct to comply with authority, to scam victims. These scams are mainly phone-based and impersonate various officials, such as police, ATO officers or government investigators.

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.

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.