ACCC: Aussies Swindled Nearly Half A Billion
Australians were scammed out of almost half a billion dollars last year according to new figures released by the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission (ACCC).
The Targeting Scams Report, released today, revealed $489.7 million in losses were reported to various government agencies in 2018, 44 per cent more than the year before.
“These record losses are likely just the tip of the iceberg,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
More than 378,000 scams were reported last year, with one particular swindle involving threats of arrest from scammers impersonating the Australian Taxation Office increasing by 900 per cent in November alone.
Almost half of the losses came from victims aged over 55, with the most reports coming from those aged over 65.
The report notes a marked increase in dating and romance scams, but investment scams remain the most prevalent.
Almost half of the victims were contacted by phone, but Ms Rickard warned scammers were adapting to new technology, and while telephone scams vastly outnumbered email and social media scams, the online scams netted over $10 million more than the old-fashioned methods.
Various government agencies are now calling on social media platforms and telecommunications providers to do more to limit scammers’ abilities to reach victims.