Ouch! OZ Hit By ‘$93m’ Scams
Aussies lost millions to scams last year. An eye-popping $93 million, in fact.
There’s also been a phenomenal (65%) jump in online shopping scams in 2012.
Scammers asking for advance fee/up-front payment is the top con job in OZ – accounting for over 30% of reported scams, according to the consumer watchdog’s new ‘Targeting Scams’ report.
The ‘Microsoft’ computer virus scam continued to “heavily target” Australians, as did a ‘scareware’ scam, where con artists posed as Australian Federal Police. False billing, job and dating scams were among other scams highlighted in the report.
The consumer watchdog, ACCC, received 84,000 contacts from consumers about cons in 2012 – and have warned about the worrying increase in online shopping scams – Aussies lost over $4m to Internet scams alone.
Last week, Victoria’s consumer affairs minister warned of fake websites posing as genuine well known technology retailers, and shut down several including directdiscountwarehouse.com.au.
Web scams account for one in three scams, but phone/text is still the No. 1 way to be conned out of cash – constituting over half (56 per cent) of all reported cons.
“Nowadays, it can take just the click of a button to fall victim to a scam,” warns ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
However, the $93m losses are just “the tip of the iceberg” as scam victims are often “too embarrassed” to report when they’ve been conned.
New South Wales (23.5 per cent), Queensland (21 per cent), Victoria (18 per cent) were the most scammed states.
|“Scammers continue to find sophisticated methods to deliver scams, taking advantage of new technologies and communication methods to try and slip under your radar,” Rickard added.
The launch of the report marks the beginning of National Consumer Fraud Week 2013, with this year’s campaign, ‘Outsmart the Scammers!’, which focuses on shop safely online.
The ACCC’s 2012 Targeting scams report is available from www.accc.gov.au or contact 1300 302 502. For info on common online shopping scams, visit www.scamwatch.gov.au/outsmartthescammers.