The No. 1 scam Australians fall for
INNOCENT Australians are being bombarded by scammers making a "tsunami of phone calls" and were robbed of nearly half a billion dollars in 2018, a new report has found.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's new "Targeting Scams" report, out today, (MON) analysed 2018 scams data and found Australians lost more than $489 million to scams.
This is an increase of $149 million from 2017.
And the methods scammers used to contact victims included phone (47 per cent), email (23 per cent), text message (14 per cent) and social media (4 per cent).
The ACCC's deputy chair, Delia Rickard, said scammers were using phones to target victims because "emotional manipulation is much easier with phone calls."
"You don't have a chance to stop and think and chop somebody off, so scammers are finding this an effective way of getting money out of people," she said.
"Scammers are much more efficient, they can use automated dialling where it's a machine that call you first up and deliver a message.
"That is designed to scare you and they ask you to call a number."
She said this method allowed scammers to weed out those who were wise enough to ignore the attempts at trickery and not call the supplied number back.
Often the scammer impersonated a well-known or trusted organisation such as government departments, police, banks or utility providers to catch out innocent people.
In 2018 Australians lost the most money to phone scams at $30.3 million, followed by email at $25.3 million, social media at $15.7 million and text message at $2.1 million.
The ATO's assistant commissioner, Kath Anderson, said scammers were becoming increasingly sophisticated and trying new ways to make their calls to victims look legitimate.
"In the last 12 months we have seen an increase in calls where the scammers use technology to project a legitimate phone number onto the victim's caller ID, making it look like the call came from the ATO or another legitimate organisation," she said.
"While we are very concerned about innocent Australians losing money to these scammers, we are equally as concerned about Australians providing their personal and financial information, which can be like a golden egg to a scammer."
The report also found older Australians, aged 55-64 lost more money than any other age group at $24.8 million.
And females were scammed more than men with 94,200 reports of scam incidents compared to men at 79,600.
For more on protecting your money from scams see the new Fraudwatch series in today's MoneysaverHQ liftout.