Australians lose more than $10m due to investment scams in Q1 2019

Maria Nikolova

People from 55 to 64 years of age suffered the biggest losses, whereas those most active to report scams were those aged from 25 to 34.

Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has just published its latest data about scams, with the numbers revealing that losses due to investment fraud topped $10 million in the first three months of 2019.

During the first quarter of 2019, Australians reported $10,154,277 lost due to investment fraud. The number of reports was 1,073. People from 55 to 64 years of age suffered the biggest losses, whereas those most active to report scams were those aged from 25 to 34.

Although the losses reported in March lagged behind those reported in February, the amount was still substantial at $4,168,748.

Source: Scamwatch.

In 2018, Australians submitted a total of 3,508 reports about investment scams and reported losses amounted to $38.85 million. This compares to more than $31 million reported lost to investment scams in 2017. Last year, July was the month with the biggest amount of losses ($6 million).

The large majority of investment scams are still focused on traditional investment markets like stocks, real estate or commodities. For instance, scammers cold call victims claiming to be a stock broker or investment portfolio manager and offer a ‘hot tip’ or inside information on a stock or asset that is supposedly about to go up significantly in value. They will claim what they are offering is low-risk and will provide quick and high returns.

Two other types of investments where scams are prevalent are cryptocurrency trading and binary options. Cryptocurrency trading scams have increased significantly in the past 12 months and are now the second most common type of investment scam offer pushed on victims.

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