Australians report more than $5m in losses due to investment scams in June 2019

Maria Nikolova

The losses due to investment fraud in Australia surpassed $23 million in the first six months of 2019, according to the latest data from Scamwatch.

Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has just made public the latest data about investment scams. The information is rather gloomy, as Australians reported having lost $5,119,883 due to investment fraud in June 2019. This takes the losses amount for the first half of 2019 to $23,690,077.

In June, Australians lodged 428 reports about investment scams. Those aged from 35 to 44 years were most active in filing such reports, whereas those from 55 to 64 years of age suffered the biggest losses due to investment fraud.

Source: Scamwatch.

The spike in losses was indicated in June this year, as Scamwatch data have shown that Australians reported having lost over $1.6 million due to investment fraud in the June 17 – June 23, 2019 period. Back then, Scamwatch advised the public to be wary of get-rich-quick schemes.

In 2018, Australians filed a total of 3,508 reports about investment scams and reported losses of $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 example, 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 gained pace.

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