We’re only into the second month of 2020, and already Australian’s have lost a hefty amount as a result of investment scams, figures published by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch has shown.
During the first month of 2020, Aussie consumers lost AU$2.14 million (around US$1.43 million) to investment scams. In total, 396 reports against suspected scams were filed, out of these, 34.3 percent of reports had experienced financial losses.
This amount is almost double what was reported lost in January of 2019. Specifically, Scamwatch received 284 reports, and slightly more than AU$1.08 million was lost during the month. Year-on-year, this represents an increase of 98.1 percent.
In January of 2020, consumers lost the most amount of money via the internet, according to the ACCC’s data. Overall, AU$672,078 was lost during the month via investment scams operated through the internet, and 70 reports were lodged.
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Losses from investment scams increase in 2019
January’s figures come off the back of a difficult year for Australian residents. As Finance Magnates reported, during 2019, Aussies lost AU$61.61 million from investment scams throughout the year.
For the whole of 2019, Aussie residents lodged 4,986 reports regarding investment scams. From this, 42.3 percent had incurred financial losses due to fraudulent activity.
Throughout the year, the most reports and amounts lost both occurred during July. In particular, 674 reports were made during the month, and AU$12.56 million was lost. August and December were also bad months for Australian consumers.
According to the data provided by the ACCC, the most amount of money was lost by people who were contacted via scammers over the phone, which has historically been one of the most popular methods used by fraudsters.
As of September 2019, AU$48.85 million was lost to fraudsters who operated investment scams. At this point, more was lost by Aussies in 2019 than in the whole of 2018. However, from this, a further AU$12.76 million was lost in 2019.