Australians lost $851m to scams in 2020

28July large

Australians lost $851m to scams in 2020

I recently received an email from a fellow IT company that does work for us in Western Australia advising that they had changed their banking details.  With no contact number in the senders email, I was suspicious.

I was even reluctant to open their letter attached. So I called them. To double check its legitimacy.  It was legitimate, but imagine if it wasn’t. Imagine if I just forwarded onto the account team without checking?

Australians have lost at least $851 million to scams in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the ACCC.

In the agency’s Targeting Scams report, scammers allegedly took advantage of the pandemic to con unsuspecting people.

The most losses were from investment scams, with an estimated $328 million lost, accounting for more than a third of total losses. Romance scams came in second at $131 million, while payment redirection scams resulted in $128 million of losses.

Scam victims reported the biggest loss we have seen, but worse, we expect the real losses will be even higher, as many people don’t report them.

Unfortunately scammers continue to become more sophisticated and last year used the COVID-19 pandemic to scam and take advantage of people from all walks of life during this crisis.
Victoria recorded the highest loss nationwide for the first time due to the second wave of the virus, reporting $49 million in losses to Scamwatch, more than double from 2019.

We are also seeing increases were health and medical scams, which grew more than 20 fold compared to 2019, accounting for over $3.9 million in losses.

Losses to threat-based scams also increased by 178 percent to $11.8 million, while remote access scams reported more than $8.4 million in losses, an increase of more than 74 percent.
Phishing activity also increased 75 percent to 44,000 reports, including government impersonation scams.

It is time to up your game and be on guard as it is now a free for all. Call TCT to help you protect your business and data.

Robert Brown
28/7/2021

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