Australians have lost almost $70 million due to scams in 2009, an increase of 16 per cent from the previous year, according to a report.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report, Targetting scams – Report of the ACCC on scam activity – 2009, was launched in Sydney to kick-start Fraud Week. Online Offensive – Fighting Fraud Online runs from March 1-7.
According to ACCC deputy chair, Peter Kell, said more than 20,000 scams were reported to the regulatory body last year, but the figure could be much higher.
“Realistically, this figure is likely to be the tip of the iceberg – given people can be embarrassed about reporting that they have fallen victim to scams and lost money in the process,” he said in a statement. “More than 54 per cent of the scam reports received by the ACCC concerned mass marketed advance fee fraud, making this the most complained about scam category.”
Kell said types of scams included “Nigerian style” advance fee/up-front payment, dating and romance, lottery and sweepstakes and unexpected prize scams.
The report also highlighted risks posed by email phishing scams and complex identity theft scams using social networking websites.
The ACCC also recorded a 100 per cent increase in reports about online shopping scams during 2009.
Earlier this year, the ACCC also warned that to fake dating profiles based overseas.
The regulatory body took charge of an Internet sweep involving 42 countries in September.