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Tuesday, 10 March 2020 12:46

Young Australians under 25 lose $5 million to scammers Featured

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Australians under 25 years of age lost over $5 million to scams in 2019, with around 12,000 reports about losses by these young Aussies made to Scamwatch in 2019 - an increase of 11% over 2018.

And reports from this age group increased by 10 percentage points more than any other age group, according to the ACCC’s Scamwatch service.

“Scammers don’t discriminate based on age and the wide range of scams reported by this age group is concerning,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Young people may think they are tech savvy, but scammers are adapting and we expect to see more scams on newer platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok.”

According to Scamwatch, Facebook and Instagram were the most common platforms for reports and losses by those under 25, with typical scams on these platforms involving fake online stores or the sale of fake tickets to events.

Scamwatch says online shopping scams were the most common scams, making up more than 14% of reports and almost 12% of losses among people under 25.

“Almost half of the losses to people under 25 occurred through bank transfer but you should also be wary of sellers asking for payment through unusual payment methods such as gift cards or bitcoin,” Rickard said.

“Always try to purchase tickets from authorised sellers and be aware that many links sourced through social media will not be legitimate.”

Additionally, Scamwatch warns that scammers are using social media platforms and email as forums for sextortion scams, where they threaten to share intimate images or footage of you online, “unless you give in to their demands”.

“In many cases if you receive a sextortion threat from a stranger claiming they have compromising images or video footage of you, these images don’t actually exist, so delete the message. If you are concerned, you can contact the e-Safety Commissioner,” Rickard said. 

Rickard warns that scammers can also target children who play online video games, such as Fortnite, by offering unlocked achievements or special items in exchange for money or gift card codes without ever transferring the item.

“By targeting children, scammers could obtain personal and banking information from the individual’s parents,” Rickard said.

“We encourage parents and guardians to ensure children do not share personal or banking details online, and if they think a scammer has gained access to their personal information contact their financial institution as soon as possible.“You should also contact the platform on which you were scammed and inform them of the circumstances surrounding the scam.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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