Australians lost more than $12 million to cyber scams in the month of July alone, prompting experts to warn of increased time online during COVID-19 restrictions.
New data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch shows that in July 2020 victims reported a net loss of $12.3 million from more than 18,500 scams.
Perhaps more concerningly, just 10.8 per cent of 18,579 scam reports suffered financial losses – proving that Australians who do fall victim for the scam suffer heavily.
In July the most prominent scam was involved in dating and romance, closely followed investment scams.
Both categories reaped almost $4 million each.
Scammers were most successful with contacting victims via the phone, followed closely by mobile applications and email scams.
Australians aged over 65 were the most heavily represented in the statistics, although July saw a spike in victims aged 25 to 34.
Scamwatch’s data comes via reports provided to the ACCC, with experts believing a far higher number of victims exist who are too embarrassed to come forward.
Crispin Kerr, head of ANZ at cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, said many Australians need to value their personal information far higher.
“Scams are constantly evolving and our growing use and reliance on technology provides scammers more opportunities to trick people into giving away their valuable personal information,” Mr Kerr said.
“Scammers use personal information to steal identities for personal and financial gain. Scams cost Australians, businesses and the economy hundreds of millions of dollars each year and cause serious emotional harm to victims and their families.
“Your personal information is valuable, and scammers will try to steal it.”
Mr Kerr recommended being alert for urgent or “high pressure” tactics used by scammers, and double checking with government agencies to verify official communications.
“Don’t fall for high pressure tactics to give up personal information. Any unexpected or urgent-seeming incoming requests should be a red flag,” Mr Kerr advised.
“If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers.”
The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.