Queenslanders have been fleeced almost $17m of their hard earned cash so far this year with the amount of online dating and romance scams tripling.
According to Australian and Competition and Consumer Commission data analysed by the Atlas VPN research team Queensland residents of Queensland have so far reported 17,716 scams this year – 1675 cases less than last year.
Over that time Queensland residents were defrauded of close to $16.8m, about $1.6m more than last year.
Atlas VPN chief operating officer Rachel Welch said on average this year Queensland residents lost close to $947 per case – $251 more if compared to the same period in 2019.
“Even though the number of scams is not growing, what is concerning is the fact that scams are becoming more sophisticated and are able to lure out more money per every successful attempt,” she said.
According to the virtual private network provider most fraud complaints have come from people aged 65 and over and according to the survey April – which was the height of the coronavirus lockdown – was the most successful month for scammers in 2020.
Dating and romance scams were the most lucrative, costing victims $6.4 million ($17,076 per case) – nearly three times more than last year.
So far this year, Queensland residents reported 373 dating and romance scam cases.
Next up in terms of money lost were investment scams. Investment scams were reported 586 times this year and defrauded victims of nearly $4.9 million ($8,282 per case).
While the number of investment scams increased by 61 cases compared to the same period last year, the amount of money lost dropped by $1.5 million.
Just as last year, the most frequently reported scam type was phishing. There were 3430 phishing cases accounting for 19.4 per cent of the total cases reported by Queensland residents in 2020.
Overall, Australians reported 99,321 scam events since the beginning of the year, resulting in $89.6 million in losses. Coronavirus-related scams have cost Australians a total of $3.3 million.
Originally published as Ten worst scams costing Queenslanders millions