Australians report $2.3 million lost to scams during week to Oct 15, 2017

Maria Nikolova

Australians filed 5,473 reports about scams during the week to October 15, 2017, up 52% on the preceding week.

Scamwatch, an organization run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), keeps updating the public about the reports it gets concerning various fraudulent schemes. Earlier today, Scamwatch provided a brief snapshot of existing and emerging scams targeting Australians, with the data being far from rosy.

Australians reported $2.3 million of losses due to scams for the week to October 15, 2017. This is 6% higher than during the preceding week. The number of reports of fraudulent schemes surged 52% on a weekly basis to 5,473.

Source: Scamwatch.

The dismal numbers are revealed after the ACCC has recently confirmed that the online sphere – email, the internet, social media and mobile apps – has overtaken telephones as scammers’ preferred tool to contact potential victims. In 2017, the ACCC’s Scamwatch site has received more than 51,000 reports of scammers trying to con people online. Online scam losses total nearly $37 million so far in 2017, with people aged 45 to 54 being the likeliest victims.

According to the ACCC, the top three scams that people are most likely to encounter online are phishing, false billing, and “buying and selling”.

In September this year, Scamwatch received 14,300 scam reports, with $8.3 million reported having been lost. The total amount of money reported lost due to investment scams in Australia was $2.16 million last month, down from the record-high monthly losses of $3.95 million reported in August 2017. The amount of money lost due to the activities of investment fraudsters in Australia during the January-September 2017 period amounts to $21.36 million.

The numbers are not conclusive as many investors do not report their losses. In 2016, the ACCC and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) received a total of 200,103 reports about scams. Losses reported to Scamwatch, ACORN and from other scam disruption programs amount to approximately $300 million. The biggest part of the losses due to cold calling in 2016 related to offers of investment opportunities in binary options, according to ACCC’s annual report on scam activity for 2016.

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