Australians are particularly prone to scammers offering sweet sweet lurv, according to the ACCC as it kicks off National Consumer Fraud Week.
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The ACCC’s figures show a 10 per cent rise is scam reports, with romance and dating-based scams being the most profitable for scammers. Australians were collectively duped out of $89 million in 2013, with $25,247,418 of that figure being attributed to scams that relate to dating or romance.
In terms of the scam most commonly reported, advance fee scams (of the “you can claim your billions from INSERT LOST RELATIVE HERE” fame) were the most complained about with 28,748 reports made and $24,988,234 reportedly lost, just shy of the romance/dating figures. There must be solid money to be made in online love scams, as that $25,247,418 came from just 2,777 complaints.
Mind you, that entire $89 million figure could just be the tip of the iceberg. The ABC quotes ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard as stating “We talk to other agencies, and work is being done so there will be a central repository of all reported scams in Australia but that’s not in place just yet. So we know it’s significantly more than the $89 million that was reported to us.”
In terms of spread, when online you’re more likely to be approached by scammers via email, whereas phone beats out SMS on mobile devices.
As we’ve pointed out previously, if you’ve been the victim of an online scam, your first step should be to report it to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, which is where these figures were collated from.
Finally, we can’t help but think that “National Consumer Fraud Week” sounds as though the ACCC is advocating for the idea of Consumer Fraud; maybe next year they’ll add “Prevention” to the week’s name.