A compensation lawyer has said that Australians should not count on the legal system to save them from scams or to recover money, stating “our hands are largely tied.”
As part of National Scams Awareness Week, founder of Travis Schultz Law, Travis Schultz (pictured), said the difficulty in this type of crime is the money obtained by the scammers is often sent overseas. The best advice they can give is to be alert and protect personal data and identifications.
“It is a fact of life in the 21st century that the digital age has emboldened once petty criminals. Scams can often be run from abroad making the perpetrators very hard to catch,” Mr Schultz said. “Sadly, it has created a new industry and these days the petty shoplifters of the past have become cyber criminals of the digital age.”
This comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission estimated that Australians are expected to lose out on a record amount due to scams in 2019, with predicted losses exceeding $532 million by the end of the year.
Mr Schultz said if a scammer is caught, the law does provide a right of recourse, but if the money has left the jurisdiction, “it can be very difficult to recover.”
“These scammers are professionals with call centres and teams of trained staff that follow convincing scripts. What’s important is people acknowledge professionalism of these operations and don’t assume they won’t fall victim to scams,” he said.
Founder and managing director of IDCARE David Lacey said his organisation helps reduce the harm from having an identity stolen or misused, and demand has doubled year-on-year since the government launched the national service in 2014.
“The impact on members of the community and small business can be devastating. Most Australians experience not just financial loss, but also psychological trauma from experiencing these crimes,” Mr Lacey said.
The caution on loss recovery follow claims that one Australian business lost $50,000 after hackers took control of its invoicing system.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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