The year may only be at the three-quarter mark, but scammers have already taken close to $37 million from the pockets of unsuspecting Australians.
Latest figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) show that more than 51,000 complaints have been received as a result of scammers so far in 2017, with the losses quickly adding up.
“It’s difficult to spot a scammer online these days, as they go to great lengths to trick the public and steal personal information and money,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.
“While scammers are often after your money, they’re also trying to steal your personal information, which is just as valuable. It’s important to safeguard your personal details online the same way you would your wallet.”
She added: “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
According to Ms Rickard, people aged between 45 and 54 years are the most likely to lose money to online scammers.
Three particular types of scams have been revealed as the most common in Australia:
- Phishing scams, which claim to be from well-known companies or government agencies and seek personal log-ins or money;
- Fake bills; and
- Buying and selling goods that do not exist, such as through the use of fake classified listings.
“If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of something online like a store, classified listing or an email you receive, do your own research as others who have been stung by scammers will often post warnings for others. There are also plenty of very useful tips and advice at www.scamwatch.gov.au (link is external) to avoid being stung by online scams,” Ms Rickard said.
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