Monday, 17 June 2013 07:25

$93 million lost to phone and online scammers last year


In 2012 the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) received nearly 84, 000 complaints about consumer fraud, the vast majority perpetrated by phone or the Internet.

There was a 65% increase in reports of online shopping scams.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard has launched the ACCC’s Targeting Scams report, which reveals that over $93 million was reported lost by Australians last year. The launch of the report marks the beginning of National Consumer Fraud Week 2013 with this year’s campaign, ‘Outsmart the scammers!’, which focuses on helping Australians shop safely online.

Scammers also continued to use the phone as their preferred method of delivery, with combined voice and text message scams constituting over half (56%) of all reports to the ACCC. Scams delivered online also increased to represent just over 35% of all scam approaches.

“However, reports of financial losses to the ACCC are just the tip of the iceberg as victims of scams are often too embarrassed to report their experience,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said. “Scammers continue to find sophisticated methods to deliver scams, taking advantage of new technologies and communication methods to try and slip under your radar.”

 “Nowadays it can take just the click of a button to fall victim to a scam, so it is more important than ever that we practice safe techniques when communicating with others—whether online, on the phone, at one’s business or even at home.”

The report is at

Major types of scam include:

  • The Advanced Fee Fraud,. Victims are asked to pay to access a share in a sum of money they are owed ($30 million).
  • Dating and Romance scams. Victims are duped into sending money to a scammer they have an online relationship ($23 million).
  • Online auction and shopping scams. Increasingly sophisticated scams which can use fake logos, emails or fake websites ($4 million)
  • Lottery and sweepstake scams. Victims are asked to pay a fee to access lottery winnings ($2.6 million).
  • Computer hacking scams. Victims receive a phone call about a computer virus and are convinced to provide access to their computer ($1.3 million).

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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson sadly passed away in Jan 2021 and a much valued senior associate editor at iTWire. He was one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is the author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He was in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.

Graeme will be sadly missed by the iTWire Family, Readers, Customers and PR firms.

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