Scammers steal over $3bn from Australians

The latest Targeting Scams report has revealed Australians lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022, as government, law enforcement and the private sector look to improve collaborative efforts to support the community in the fight against scams.  This is an 80 per cent increase on total losses recorded in 2021.

The report compiles data reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX), IDCARE and other government agencies.

It shows that investment scams were the highest loss category ($1.5 billion), followed by remote access scams ($229 million) and payment redirection scams ($224 million).

Online scams have become a prevalent threat in today's digital world. Scammers are constantly devising new ways to steal money and personal information from unsuspecting individuals. They often use phone calls, SMS, or emails to contact potential victims, and their approaches can be sophisticated, making it difficult to distinguish between a genuine offer and a scam. It is crucial to be smart and vigilant when it comes to dealing with online scams and protecting yourself from falling victim to these fraudsters.

One of the common types of online scams is the unexpected money scam. Scammers may claim that you have won a prize or inherited money and ask for your banking details or other personal information to access or receive the money. However, these claims are false, and scammers are attempting to steal your money. It's essential to remember that if you didn't enter a competition or participate in any lottery, there is no real prize. Never provide your banking details over the phone, by email, or SMS, unless you initiated the contact. It's crucial to delete such emails and SMSs and hang up on any callers who claim you have won a prize or opportunity.

Another common scam is the "you just got lucky" scam, where scammers try to convince you that you have a unique opportunity to invest in a new idea or product or receive an inheritance. These claims are also false, and scammers are trying to obtain your banking details to steal your money. It's crucial to be skeptical of unsolicited investment opportunities or inheritance claims and not respond to them. You can check Scamwatch or other reputable sources to see if others have received the same email, message, or phone call, and verify the legitimacy of the claim.

Tax scams are another common type of scam that targets individuals and businesses in Australia. Scammers may pretend to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) or other government agencies, and use various tactics to trick victims into providing their personal information, such as tax file numbers, bank account details, or credit card information. They may claim that the victim has unpaid taxes or owes money to the ATO, and threaten legal action or arrest if payment is not made immediately. It's important to note that the ATO will never demand immediate payment over the phone or via email, and will always provide multiple opportunities for individuals to verify their tax status through official channels. To protect yourself from tax scams, always verify the legitimacy of any communication claiming to be from the ATO or other government agencies, and never provide personal information or make payments without confirming the authenticity of the request. If you suspect you have been targeted by a tax scam, report it to the ATO and Scamwatch immediately.

For more information on common types of scams in Australia and how to protect yourself, visit the Scamwatch website at Scamwatch is a trusted source of information about scams and provides resources, tips, and tools to help individuals and businesses stay informed and safeguard against falling victim to scams. Remember to always be cautious and vigilant when dealing with unsolicited calls, emails, or messages, and verify the legitimacy of any requests for personal information or payments. By staying informed and taking proactive measures to protect yourself, you can help prevent becoming a victim of a scam.

We have included a gallery of common scams we have seen recently: