Online scams cost Australians $489 Million

ACCC has released a report detailing that online scams cost Australians half a billion dollars in 2018.

“Total combined losses reported to Scamwatch and other government agencies exceeded $489 million – $149 million more than 2017,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.”

WOW, just wow.
The ACCC report details that $86 Million was lost to investment scams, with a further $60 Million lost to dating scams.

Persons aged over 55 accounted for almost half of all victims. ACCC reported that more men fell for investment scams. More women fell for dating scams. Also, Australian Business reported $60 Million losses to online scams in 2018. This is a 170% increase over 2017 figures.

“Scams are a complex and evolving problem affecting every demographic in Australia”. Scams continue to cause financial and emotional damage. Due to scammers mostly being overseas criminals, it is difficult for law enforcement to track them down and take action against them.

The number of reports has doubled over 5 years. In 2018 there were 7.5 times the number of reports from ten years ago. Most scammers connect with intended victims initially via phone, email, or text message. Because of the stricter security methods used by banks in Australia, scammers are now requesting payment by other means including gift cards and bitcoin.

Common business scams include ransomware attacks and the hacking of email systems. Following an email system hack the scammer impersonates key personnel. They then try to trick other businesses into making payments into the scammer’s bank accounts.

As a result of the lack of action able to be taken by law enforcement, the government expects that companies do more to ensure their own online safety.

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