According to the latest report published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), a total of 444,164 scams were reported to different government agencies in 2020. Australian citizens lost more than $850 million to different scams during last year.
The report mentioned that the citizens lost a total of $328 million to investment scams. Nearly $131 million were lost to romance scams and the citizens lost approximately $128 million to business email frauds in 2020.
Australians preferred the Scamwatch Service from the government for reporting illegal activities in the country. Nearly 216,000 scams were reported on Scamwatch.gov.au. ACCC highlighted a surge of 23% in the total losses reported to Scamwatch in 2020 compared to 2019.
“It is not surprising that in 2020, 25% of all scam reports involved the loss of personal information, up from 16% in 2019. Loss of personal information was even higher among Indigenous consumers, where 36% of all scam reports involved the loss of personal information. The increasing value of personal information at a time when face-to-face transactions were not possible was a significant driver of scam activity in 2020,” ACCC added.
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With $328 million in losses, investment scam was the category with the highest losses for ASIC, Scamwatch, and the banks. Scamwatch saw a jump of nearly 63% in the number of reports related to different investment scams. The average loss to investment scams stood at AUD 26,713.
“It appears to be increasingly difficult for people to identify legitimate investment opportunities from scams. Scammers no longer just rely on professional-looking websites. They now have the ability to contact people through phone, apps, social media and other means. We saw more fraudulent celebrity endorsements of investment opportunities advertised across digital platforms as well as scammers posing as romance interests to ‘bait’ people into scam investments,” the Australian authority mentioned in the report.
In March 2021, The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) enforced restrictions on retail CFDs trading.