Targeting scams

The ACCC produces an annual Targeting scams report, explaining key trends in scam activity and highlighting the impact of scams on the community.

About the report

The Targeting scams report highlights the cooperative work of the ACCC, other regulators and law enforcement agencies to disrupt scams and educate consumers.

Latest report

Targeting scams report coverpage thumb 2021

This report explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community.

It highlights the cooperative work of the ACCC, other regulators and law enforcement agencies to disrupt scams and educate consumers.

Published July 2022.

Targeting scams report infographic 2021

Targeting scams report infographic 2021 (image file download)

Reports

  • 286,622 reports to Scamwatch (a 33% increase from 216,087 reports in 2020)

Losses

  • $2 billion: 2021 combined financial losses reported to Scamwatch, ReportCyber, 12 financial institutions and government agencies
  • $324 million: Amount reported to Scamwatch (an 84% increase from $143 million in 2019)
  • $12,742: Average loss

Top scams by loss as reported to Scamwatch

  • $177 million: Investment scams
  • $56 million: Dating & romance scams
  • $17 million: False billing
  • $16 million: Remote access scams
  • $11 million: Threats to life, arrest or other
  • $10 million Identity theft
  • $8 million: Online shopping scams
  • $7 million: Classified scams
  • $4 million: Phishing scams
  • $3 million: Lost to hacking

Age

  • Of those over 18 years old, losses are primarily reported by people aged 65 and over (27.3%), while people aged 18-24 reported the lowest number of losses (4.3%).
  • Of those over 18 years old, reports are primarily reported by people aged 65 and over (20.7%), while people aged 18-24 reported the lowest number of reports (6.6%).

Gender

  • 138,591 reports were filed by men, totalling $190 million.
  • 142,092 reports were filed by women, totalling $131 million.

Top contact methods by reports

  • 50% of people were contacted by scammers via a phone call, with 23% of people being contacted via text message.

Previous reports

See the archive of all Targeting scams reports from 2009.