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Australians lost a record amount of money to scams

Australians lost a record amount of more than $2 billion to scams in 2021,
despite government, law enforcement, and the private sector disrupting more
scam activity than ever before, the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report
The report compiles data from Scamwatch, ReportCyber, major banks and
money remitters, and other government agencies, and is based on analysis of
more than 560,000 reports. Reported losses to all organisations totalled
almost $1.8 billion, but as one-third of victims do not report scams the ACCC
estimates actual losses were well over $2 billion.
Investment scams were the highest loss category ($701 million) in 2021,
followed by payment redirection scams ($227 million), and romance scams
($142 million).
“Scam activity continues to increase, and last year a record number of
Australians lost a record amount of money,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard
“Scammers are the most opportunistic of all criminals: they pose as charities
after a natural disaster, health departments during a pandemic, and love
interests every day.”
“The true cost of scams is more than a dollar figure as they also cause
serious emotional harm to individuals, families, and businesses,” Ms Rickard
Based on reports to Scamwatch in 2021, women reported the most scams but
men lost more money than women, and men’s losses to investment scams
were double women’s losses. In culturally and linguistically diverse
communities, women had slightly higher losses than men.
Scams robbed
Australians of more
than $2 billion last year

People aged 65 and over reported the highest losses, and reported losses
steadily increased with age.
In 2021, Scamwatch received record levels of reports and losses from
Australians that may have been experiencing vulnerability or hardship.
People with disability made twice as many reports compared to 2020, and
their financial losses increased by 102 per cent to $19.6 million.
The number of reports by Indigenous Australians increased by 43 per cent
between 2020 and 2021, and reported losses increased by 142 per cent.
People from culturally and linguistically diverse communities experienced an
88 per cent increase in losses last year compared to 2020.
“The increasing number of reports by people experiencing vulnerability is a
very worrying trend. Everyone from government, to banks, and digital
platforms needs to do more to address this,” Ms Rickard said.
“The ACCC is particularly wanting banks to match payee information in pay
anyone transactions. This has been shown to have a real impact in countries
that have done so.”
ACCC research presented in the report shows that scams are almost
ubiquitous in Australia today. Ninety-six per cent of respondents had been
exposed to scammers in the previous five years, and 20 per cent had fallen
victim. Of those who lost money, 56 per cent were unable to recover any of
Source: ACCC Scamwatch