Scam losses nearly doubled in 2022

Losses to scams ballooned by 80 percent between 2021 and 2022, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

In its latest targeting scams report [pdf], released today, the ACCC said based on the 500,000-plus analysed in the study, investment scams took $1.5 billion from Australians in 2022, followed by $229 million lost to remote access scams and $224 million to payment redirection scams.

ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe used the launch of the report to call on governments for more coordinated action.

“As scammers become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, it is clear a coordinated response across government, law enforcement and the private sector is essential to combat scams more effectively," Lowe said.

Scamwatch recorded a huge growth in financial losses on fewer individual cases: the 239,237 reports to the body was down 16.5 percent on 2021.

Of those reports to Scamwatch, nearly 65,000 (27 percent of the total) involved the loss of  personal information, without an economic loss. 

Nearly 29,000 Scamwatch reports (just over 12 percent of the total) involved financial loss, with a 54 percent increase in the per-incident loss amount from $12,742 to an average of $19,654.

The ACCC said only 13 percent of victims report a loss to Scamwatch, and only 30 percent report to anyone, meaning the actual losses are far higher.

Businesses seem likely to lose less money than individuals. Of the 3857 scam reports submitted by businesses in 2022, the total losses of $23.2 million equated to an average loss of just over $6000.

More than half the losses, $13.7 million, were reported by small and micro businesses in a total of 2019 reports, more than 95 percent up on 2021; and the greatest losses were in NSW ($6.5 million in total) and Queensland ($6 million).

Targeting Scams’ data comes from the ACCC’s Scamwatch, the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX), IDCARE and other government agencies.

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