A new study shows Australia is experiencing an unprecedented surge in online scams with a record $324 million stolen in 2021, up from $176 million in 2020, marking an 84% increase.
Australian Capital Territory residents were scammed more often but victims lost less money compared to other states and territories. Residents filed the No. 1 most complaints with the ACCC per capita with 5,556 reports per 100,000 residents. Yet victims lost least amount of money with an average of $697 per scam.
Social Catfish today released a study on the State of Online Scams in Australia after analyzing data from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) from 2019 to April 2022.
The alarming trend is a byproduct of COVID-19, technology and globalization as people increasingly work, bank, date, and shop online. The surge is in line with global trends as the U.S., U.K. and Canadian governments are reporting similar increases.
· Since 2019, 742,000 Australians lost nearly $850 million.
· Victims 55-64 lost the most money an average of nearly $30,000 per incident.
· The three biggest scams are investment ($17,641 average loss per victim), romance ($11,143 million), and Jobs and Employment ($983)
Most and Least Scammed States and Territories (Based on number of complaints per capita)
3 MOST COMMON SCAMS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
1) Investment Scams: Cybercriminals will offer once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities via email and social media that promise high rates of return at little to no risk. Once you “invest” you never see your money again. Cryptocurrency scams are red hot.
How to Avoid: Research the person and company and consult a third-party financial expert.
2) Romance Scams: Scammers target online singles on dating apps and social media sites and shower them with love and affection to earn their trust. Then they begin asking for money for emergencies and the victims are left heartbroken and penniless.
How to Avoid: Do not give money to anyone if they will not meet in person or video chat.
3) Jobs and Employment: Scammers reach out offering a job requiring little effort and high returns, all you need to do is pay to receive the starter kit. Of course, you never receive the kit or get your money back.
How to Avoid: Be wary of unsolicited work-from-home job offers that seem too good to be true. Conduct exhaustive research on anybody you plan to do business with.