Australia’s consumer watchdog says these five scams cost Australian’s millions in 2012.
Unsuspecting victims were tricked by fake retailers, sent money to online lovers they had never met and paid to unlock funds they were told they were owed.
Today the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released the Targeting Scams report, to coincide with the start of national fraud week 2013, an effort to raise awareness.
“Nowadays it can take just the click of a button to fall victim to a scam, so it is more important than ever that we practice safe techniques when communicating with others—whether online, on the phone, at one’s business or even at home,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
According to the ACCC, these five scams stole the most from Australian’s last year:
1. Advanced Fee Fraud – $30.2 million
This is when victims are tricked into paying a small sum of money to access a larger, fictional amount they are told they are owed.
2. Dating scams – $23.3 million
This one is just cruel. Victims are duped into sending money to a scammer they think they have an online relationship with.
3. Online auction and shopping scams – $4 million
Increasingly sophisticated scams which can use fake logos, emails or fake websites, tricking people out of their hard-earned cash when they think they are buying a product online.
4. Lottery and sweepstake scams – $2.6 million
Victims are asked to pay a fee to access lottery winnings.
5. Computer hacking scams – $1.3 million
You receive a call from a suspicious “IT expert” who says your computer has a virus. Do you let them have access to your computer to, as they claim, fix it? Or hang up? Sadly, $1.3 million worth of victims went for the first option.
Read the full Targeting Scams report here.