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Australians Scammed Out Of A Whopping $211 Million

Australians have been scammed out a whopping $211 million so far this year.

According to Scamwatch, that is an 89 per cent increase compared to the same period last year.

These losses were reported between January 1 and September 19 and have already surpassed the $175.6 million that was reported across the whole of last year.

“It’s very concerning to see these scams evolving and becoming more sophisticated to steal even more money from unsuspecting people,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“While the proportion of reports involving a financial loss has dropped this year, the people who do lose money are losing bigger amounts. The average loss so far this year is about $11,000 compared to $7,000 for the same period in 2020.”

Many of these losses are from phone-based scams, which accounted for over $63.6 million (31 per cent) of the losses.

Additionally, of the 213,000 reports that Scamwatch received so far this year, 113,000 were about phone scams.

Scammers call or text people and claim to be from well-known businesses or governments to steal people’s personal information.

“Scammers are pretending to be from companies such as Amazon or eBay and claiming large purchases have been made on the victim’s credit card. When they pretend to help you process a refund, they gain remote access to your computer and steal your personal and banking details,” Rickard said.

“In August, the new Flubot malware scams masquerading as fake voicemail and parcel delivery scams exploded, which have resulted in more than 13,000 reports in just eight weeks.”

“These scams are particularly concerning in our current climate, as many people are turning to online shopping because of the COVID-19 lockdowns,” Rickard said.

Scamwatch has noticed a significant increase in losses to phishing scams (261 per cent), remote access scams (144 per cent) and identity theft (234 per cent).

As explained in August’s media release, losses to investment scams have also risen dramatically (172 per cent) in 2021.

“The rise in identity theft-related scams is particularly concerning as scammers can use the personal information they obtain for use in other crimes,” Rickard said.

“If you see a scam, please report it to Scamwatch, even if you haven’t lost any money. These reports are extremely important to us as they provide key information about any emerging scams or trends.”

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