In their latest report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported more than $851 million were lost in scams by Australians in 2020. Here is a breakdown of the reported scams:

  • $328 million lost in investment scams.
  • $131 million lost in romance scams.
  • $128 million in business payment redirection or email compromise
  • 440,000 reports were made to Scamwatch, ReportCyber and other government agencies, and financial institutions
  • 96,220 reports were made to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

The ATO was the most commonly impersonated government agency in 2020. Nearly 500 people lost money to such scams, totalling nearly $2.4 million. That’s a 12 per cent increase from 2019.

Regrettably, scammers continue to become more and more sophisticated, and they used the COVID-19 pandemic to scam and take advantage of people from all walks of life.

Scamwatch data found that scammers preferred to contact victims by phone, with 47.7 per cent of scams coming from a phone call. Email scams were the next highest at 22 per cent, followed by text messages at 15 per cent. Furthermore, scam losses were evenly split between men and women, although people aged between 55 and 64 were most likely to report them.

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