Australians are set to lose a record amount to scams in 2019, with projections from losses reported to Scamwatch and other government agencies so far expected to exceed $532 million by the end of the year, surpassing half a billion dollars for the first time.
Scammers are increasingly using fake charities or impersonating real charities to take advantage of people’s generosity and compassion, with losses reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch increasing steadily over the past four years.
Nearly 6000 businesses reported being targeted by scams in 2016 according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Targeting Scams report, with losses totalling around $3.8 million, an increase of almost 31 per cent.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning online shoppers to be wary of scammers masquerading as legitimate online retailers, often selling well-known brands at too-good-to-be-true prices.
SCAMwatch is encouraging Australians who are considering donating to bushfire appeals to make sure they double check whether the appeal or its organisers are legitimate so that their generosity reaches victims, not scammers.