Losses due to jobs & investment scams continue to rise steeply in Australia

Maria Nikolova

As the sum lost to jobs & investment scams jumped 29% in just one week, Scamwatch had to reiterate warnings concerning cold calls and emails about investment opportunities that sound too good to be true.

August continues to bring gloomy news concerning the victims of investment fraud in Australia. The latest snapshot of data provided by Scamwatch, an organization operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) shows that the week to August 27, 2017, was not an exception to the general trend of rising losses due to jobs & investment scams.

The latest numbers show that the losses due to such scams rose 29% in the week to August 27, 2017, reflecting 200 reports. The continued losses have prompted Scamwatch to reiterate its warnings against responding to investment opportunities that sound too good to be true.

In the first week of August, Australia saw a 128% jump in the sum of money lost to jobs & investment fraud, whereas more than $2 million was lost due to jobs & investment scams during the August 14-20 week. This month is likely to be among the months with highest losses due to investment fraud for Australians this year.

The amount lost by Australians due to fraudulent investment schemes has reached $15,246,831 in the first seven months of 2017. The sum lost reflects 1,016 reports submitted to ACCC, with the biggest losses incurred by those aged 55 to 64 years.

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 worrisome numbers have provoked reaction from the police too. The Queensland Police, for instance, have earlier this month launched an “R U in Control?” campaign targeting fraud. The goal of the campaign is to help Queenslanders avoid becoming a victim of cyber and financial crime. Estimates, quoted by the Queensland Police, show that organised crime costs the Australian economy $21 billion per year with $8.5 billion of that figure stemming from cyber, identity and corporate crime.

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