THE ACCC has released its targeting scams report, which shows the ‘devastatingly high’ amount of money lost by Australians due to scams in 2019.
Australians lost $634 million dollars to scams in 2019 and 353,000 combined reports to Scamwatch, other government agencies and the big four banks last year, according to the report.
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said that scammers were finding new and inventive ways to scam residents.
“Unfortunately it is another year with devastatingly high losses, and scammers are constantly finding new ways to defraud Australians,” Ms Rickard said.
“Over the last decade, scammers have taken advantage of new technologies and current scams are using social media apps and new payment methods that didn’t exist in 2009,” Ms Rickard said.
The most popular scams were business email scams which accounted for $132 million dollars in losses, followed by investment scams at $126 million dollars while dating and romance scams claimed third place with $83 million dollars.
Ms Rickard said the impact of the scams often means many go unreported, which indicates the true figures could be larger.
“We know these numbers still vastly understate losses as around one third of people don’t report scam losses to anyone and in the past far fewer scam reports to other agencies have been captured,” Ms Rickard said.
“Some of these scams can last for months, or even years, and can leave victims financially and emotionally devastated,” Ms Rickard said.
In 2019, scams involving social media increased by 20 per cent while scams involving mobile phones increased by 29 per cent, according to the report.
Ms Rickard said it is important that the public remembers that can opt out of anything online which makes them feel uncomfortable.
“You can always say no, hang up the phone or delete an email, even if you’ve said yes previously. You don’t owe the scammer anything,” Ms Rickard said.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by a scam, contact www.scamwatch.gov.au for more information.