Australians are being focused by scammers at each flip, with scammers posing as pet sellers, the Australian Tax Workplace and even Tinder dates, a brand new report has revealed.
Australians misplaced greater than $851 million to scams final yr, the Australian Competitors and Client Fee revealed on Monday. That determine represents a 23 per cent enhance on 2019, with the typical sufferer dropping $7,677.
“Final yr, rip-off victims reported the largest losses we now have seen, however worse, we count on the actual losses can be even increased, as many individuals don’t report these scams,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard mentioned.
Australians misplaced probably the most ($328 million) to funding scams, adopted by romance scams ($131 million) and fee redirections scams ($128 million).
Victorians, who skilled a number of lockdowns in 2020, additionally misplaced probably the most to scammers. The restrictions noticed scammers declare folks couldn’t see gadgets earlier than buying.
“This was a typical ruse in car sale and pet scams, which each had increased stories and losses,” Rickard mentioned.
All up Victorians misplaced $49 million to scams – a 115 per cent enhance on 2019 losses.
The ACCC mentioned the “prolonged” lockdowns meant those that misplaced work have been extra susceptible to authorities impersonation, funding and early entry to tremendous scams.
Moreover, the ACCC mentioned Victorians have been extra prone to expertise loneliness, resulting in a rise in pet and romance scams.
Tinder, ATO used as cowl
Reviews of scammers utilizing Tinder as a contact mode elevated from 73 to 174 in 2020, with most scammers utilizing the platform for love scams.
Nevertheless, scammers additionally used Tinder to encourage victims to spend money on dodgy cryptocurrency platforms.
The ACCC is now calling for more durable rules governing digital platforms’ inside dispute decision processes.
The ACCC additionally acquired greater than 96,000 stories of ATO scams, with losses totalling $2.4 million.
Whereas this displays a lower within the variety of stories and variety of those that misplaced cash, the 457 individuals who did fall for the scams fell arduous.
Whole losses elevated 12 per cent to $5,252 per sufferer.
In a single occasion, an ATO scammer threatened victims with arrest if they didn’t switch cash to scammers within the type of Google Play playing cards.
One potential sufferer was saved after a store assistant queried why she was buying $1,000 value of Google Play playing cards.
“Sadly scammers proceed to develop into extra refined and final yr used the COVID-19 pandemic to rip-off and make the most of folks from all walks of life throughout this disaster,” Rickard mentioned.
If you happen to suspect you’ve been focused by a rip-off, you possibly can report scams on the Scamwatch web site at scamwatch.gov.au.