Pensioner scammed out of $100,000 as online fraud soars in WA | #datingscams | #lovescams

“I asked the bank to look into the problem and they just said the money has been transferred to another account and it’s all gone. Bad luck,” he said.

“I always thought I was fairly au fait with these sorts of scams because they do tend to come through your landline because they do target persons who are more senior in age and this is the soft target.

“We are the soft targets so I say anyone who has got a landline and anyone purporting to be anybody, say, ‘put it in writing and send it to me and I’ll address it’, because these scams are only going to increase because Australia has not got a very good track record with cybersecurity.”

It’s a common scenario, said Commerce Minister Sue Ellery, who urged West Australians on Tuesday to exercise caution to protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated scams.

“Scammers will often create a sense of urgency to prevent victims from taking time to verify that the contact is genuine or discussing it with others,” she said.

“They also try to pull on people’s heartstrings, with the new ‘hi mum/hi dad’ scam attempting to exploit a parent’s desire to help their children, and romance scammers preying on those who are simply looking for love.

“Don’t allow yourself to be rushed into making decisions or taking action as impulsive decisions could end up costing you dearly.”


Ellery said West Australians should exercise caution and “practise the pause” by stopping to think about whether an organisation is legitimate before clicking a link or attachment, or responding to calls and texts with personal information.

The WA ScamNet year in review revealed online shopping and buying/selling classified scams claimed the most victims, while investment and romance scams recorded the highest financial losses.

A total of 274 online shoppers lost $876,774 and 270 buyers and sellers on classified sites lost $564,680.

Investment scams, mainly involving cryptocurrencies, were to blame for $6,980,254 in losses, while $2,871,468 was lost to dating/romance scams, with one individual loss of $800,000 reported in May 2022.

One of the most disturbing scams of the year involved people receiving texts from criminals masquerading as their children needing urgent funds. The “hi mum/dad” scam tricked 59 WA victims into paying a total of $265,353.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has reported that annual scam losses nationally are at least $2 billion and could be as high as $4 billion.

Alarmingly, a survey has indicated that only about 13 per cent of scam losses are reported to authorities, indicating that these figures are only the tip of the iceberg.

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