The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Targeting Scams Report 2013 reveals over 90,000 Australians reported scams to the ACCC last year, with $89,136,975 million reported lost.
Telecommunication companies, banks, online dating sites and money remittance agencies are most frequently used by scammers to facilitate their fraud.
The report highlights the relationship scams cause the most significant emotional and financial harm to victims.” These scammers invest time and effort into a fake romance, a fraudulent business partnership or a complex investment scheme. Their ultimate aim is to build your trust so they can steal your personal details and money.” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
Let’s lay out the stats on scams from 2013.
- Dating and romance scams are listed as causing the most financial losses with over $25 million reported lost.
- Dating and romance scams make up 3% of all scam reports
- 43% of people approach by a scam admirer also lost money
- Phones are the preferred delivery method for scammers, 52%
- Online scams caused the greatest financial harm $42 million reported lost
This year, relationship scams are a compliance and enforcement priority area for the ACCC with their targeted scams intervention project. The project will use financial intelligence to identify and warn suspected victims.
Preventing fraud is a shared responsibility between governments, industry, companies and individuals. Fraud awareness and prevention systems is an area that business are beginning to invest a lot of time and money into. They need to help detect and disable scams before they reach their targets. Ms Rickard states that “all businesses should be considering how they can be proactive in taking effective steps to minimise the likelihood that they or their customers will fall victim to a scam.”
Our fraud awareness training course may be a course which you organisation would like to consider. In the meantime, the ACCC has provided Australians with the following scam identifier list:
- You’ve never met or seen them: scammers will say anything to avoid a ‘face-to-face’ meeting, whether it be in person or over the internet via a video chat – don’t excuse it away.
- They’re not who they appear to be: scammers steal photos and profiles from real people to create an appealing facade. Run a Google Image search on photos and search words in their description to check if they’re the real deal.
- They ask to chat with you privately: scammers will try and move the conversation away from the scrutiny of community platforms to a one-on-one interaction such as email or phone – ‘walk’ away if this happens to you.
- You don’t know a lot about them: scammers are keen to get to know you as much as possible, but are less forthcoming about themselves. Ask yourself, ‘how well do I really know this person?’
- They ask you for money: once the connection has been made – be it as a friend, admirer, or business partner – scammers will ask you to transfer money. Don’t fall for a tall tale, no matter how plausible it sounds.