More than $400 million lost to scams in 2018

Australians lost almost half a billion dollars to scammers in 2018, with people aged 55 to 64 more likely to fall victim to scams than any other age group.

According to the ACCC’s Targeting Scams report, which was released earlier this week, a whopping $489 million combined losses has been reported to Scamwatch, ACORN and other government agencies throughout last year, $149 million more than in 2017, ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“And these record losses are likely just the tip of the iceberg. We know that not everyone who suffers a loss to a scammer reports it to a government agency,” she said.

Investment scams are the most financially devastating scams at $86 million, an increase of more than 34 per cent compared with 2017.

Dating and romance scams also represent significant losses increasing from $42 million in 2017 to $60.5 million in 2018, with women losing a staggering $19.5 million to this type of scam throughout the year.

“These extraordinary losses show that scammers are causing significant financial and emotional harm to many Australians,” Ms Rickard said.

“Scammers are adapting old scams to new technology, seeking payment through unusual methods and automating scam calls to increase their reach to potential victims.”

In 2018, more than 378,000 scam reports were submitted to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other federal and state-based government agencies such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

For more on this story see Page 5 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, May 3

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