Australia sees 128% jump in losses due to jobs & investment scams in first week of August

Maria Nikolova

The latest data from Scamwatch add to previous dismal numbers showing that investment scammers keep targeting Australians.

Investment fraud continues to plague Australia, as Australians reported having lost AU$750,000 to jobs & investment scams in the week from July 31, 2017 to August 6, 2017, according to the latest numbers from Scamwatch, an organization run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). This is not the highest weekly amount of losses due to such fraudulent activities but Scamwatch notes that the rise in such losses compared from the previous week is 128%.

The fresh data are in tune with dismal findings concerning losses due to investment scams in Australia during the first half of 2017. The numbers for the January-June 2017 period have shown that that Australians lost more than AU$ 13 million to investment scams in the first half of this year. The number of reports submitted to the ACCC during the six-month period was 910, with those between 35 and 44 years of age being the most active in reporting fraud, followed by people aged over 65.

We still have to see the numbers for July, but snapshots of data provided by Scamwatch point that last month was one of the most active for investment scammers in Australia. The first week of July month (July 3 – July 9) saw Australians lose $650,000 to fraudulent investment schemes, whereas Australians reported having lost $1 million to jobs & investments scams in the week from July 10 to July 16, 2017.

ACCC’s annual report on scam activity for 2016 reveals a 47% rise in the number of scam reports in 2016 compared to 2015. Losses due to investment scams reached $23.6 million last year.

The numbers are not conclusive since many victims are reluctant to report their experiences. In 2016, the ACCC and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) got a total of 200,103 reports about scams. Losses reported to Scamwatch, ACORN and from other scam disruption programs total approximately $300 million.

The majority of the losses due to cold calling related to offers of investment opportunities in binary options. Binary options fraud is one of the three most popular investment scams, according to Scamwatch.

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