The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published its 2020 report on scam activity in Australia. According to its findings, last year 444,164 scams were reported to different government agencies. The ACC found that Australians lost over $850 million to scams.
The report revealed that a total of $328 million were lost to investment scams. Aussie citizens lost $131 million lost to romance scams and $128 million to business email frauds in 2020.
The most preferred site to report scam remained Scamwatch.gov.au, with approximately 48% of all scam reports being submitted there. The service registered 216,087 scam reports, which is the highest number of reports it has ever recorded.
It is not surprising that in 2020, 25% of all scam reports involved the loss of personal information, up from 16% in 2019. Loss of personal information was even higher among Indigenous consumers, where 36% of all scam reports involved the loss of personal information. The increasing value of personal information at a time when face to face transactions were not possible was a significant driver of scam activity in 2020.
Investment scams were the category with the highest loses in 2020 with $328 million reported by the banks, Scamwatch and ASIC. Scamwatch saw a 63% increase in reports of scams. The report found that 34% of people who reported such a scam lost money, with an average of $26,713.
The ACC said:
It appears to be increasingly difficult for people to identify legitimate investment opportunities from scams. Scammers no longer just rely on professional looking websites. They now have the ability to contact people through phone, apps, social media and other means. We saw more fraudulent celebrity endorsements of investment opportunities advertised across digital platforms as well as scammers posing as romance interests to ‘bait’ people into scam investments.
Experienced writer and journalist, working in the global online trading sector, Steffy is the Editor of LeapRate. She has previous experience as a copywriter and has been with the company since January 2020. Steffy has a British and American Studies degree from St. Kliment Ochridski University in Sofia.