Targeting scams: report of the ACCC on scam activity 2016

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

Don’t get scammed by dodgy internet pop-ups

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning people to watch out for dodgy internet pop-up windows claiming there are viruses or other seemingly nasty tech problems affecting their computer.

Known as remote access scams, these pop-up windows are used as a ploy to get unsuspecting victims to call a fake support line – usually a 1800 number. The scammer will then ask for remote access to their victim’s computer to ‘find out what the problem is’.

Don't give your heart to a scammer this Valentine's Day

The ACCC is warning people to be wary of scammers when looking for romance online with social media now the most common method scammers use to contact potential victims.

In 2016, 4100 Australians contacted the ACCC’s Scamwatch service to report dating and romance scams and more than $25 million was lost: the largest amount of money lost to any type of scam. Stats also show Facebook is a popular contact method used by romance scammers, and that those aged 45 and over are most likely to be affected.

Don’t accept gifts from a scammer this Christmas

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning online shoppers to watch out for fake parcel delivery scams arriving in email inboxes this Christmas.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch has received over 4,300 complaints about this scam in 2016, more than triple the number received in 2015. 

The ACCC says 350 people reported providing their personal information to scammers, including bank account details. 

Don't book a holiday with a scammer

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning holiday makers to watch out for scams on popular accommodation booking sites such as Airbnb.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch has received over 150 reports about scams on sharing economy platforms this year, with $80,000 reported lost. Complaints have tripled from 2015, when there was $65,000 reported lost to these scams.

ACCC supporting Indigenous artists to protect themselves

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has launched two new short films at an event hosted by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) in Alice Springs today.

The first film provides advice to Indigenous artists about their rights when negotiating with dealers to on sell their artwork, and the second on how to avoid being scammed.  

The films were developed with the assistance of CAAMA and feature Indigenous actors.

Spike in Centrelink scams

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning the community to be aware of phone calls from scammers pretending to be from the Department of Human Services or Centrelink.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch has received over 2,200 reports of this scam since January, with more than $27,000 reported lost. Four individuals have reported losses of $1,000 or more. This is a significant increase from 2015, when there was $3,500 reported loss and 560 contacts.

Don’t place bets with a scammer this spring racing season

Scamwatch is warning Australian gamblers not to part with money they didn’t plan to during Spring Racing Season, today issuing an alert that confidence tricksters are on the hunt for more victims.

Australians have lost over one million dollars to con artists pushing sports investment scams in 2016 to date.

Betting and sports investment scams convince victims to invest in ‘foolproof’ systems or software that can 'guarantee' a profit on sporting events. These scams are often promoted as a legitimate investment.