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Scammers Target Vulnerable Aussies In Dating, Investment Scams

Following on from the ACCC’s report that Australians were scammed out of almost half a billion dollars in 2018, the consumer watchdog has revealed that those who are older, Indigenous or have a disability were the most affected by scams.

According to its annual Targeting Scams report, Australians aged over 65 submitted over 26,400 reports to Scamwatch in 2018, an increase of five per cent, reporting losses of over $21.4 million, a 22 per cent increase.

Older Australians on the lookout for investment opportunities were swindled out of $7.6 million after being caught up in investment scams with “convincing sale pitches, flashy websites and even glossy brochures”.

The ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard pointed to the dangers of dating and social media sites for lonely and vulnerable people who may be targeted with malicious intent.

Indeed, the report reveals that relationship scams led to reported losses of $5.8 million for older Australians.

A higher percentage of those affected by relationship and investment scams overall identified as having a disability or chronic illness.

Scamwatch received over 7,800 reports from this demographic who reported over $8.7 million in losses.

It also received a 79 per cent increase in scam reports from Indigenous Australians with losses exceeding $3 million, with investment scams accounting for $1.1 million of the losses.

Rickard called on the wider community to assist in the spread of information regarding potential scams, as “vulnerable consumers can be difficult to reach through traditional channels.”

Read the full report here.

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