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 of the ACCC on scam activity 2020

Targeting scams: report of the ACCC on scam activity 2020

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 June 2021.

Targeting scams review infographic 2020 (image file download)

Reports

  • 167 797 reports to Scamwatch

Losses

  • $851 million: 2020 combined financial losses to scams as reported to Scamwatch, other government agencies and the big four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac)
  • $143 million: Amount reported lost to Scamwatch (a 34% increase from $107 million in 2018)
  • $7224: Average loss

Top scams by loss as reported by Scamwatch

  • $61.8 million: Investment scams
  • $28.6 million: Dating & romance
  • $10.1 million: False billing
  • $5.1 million: Hacking
  • $4.8 million: Online shopping scams
  • $4.8 million: Remote access scams
  • $4.3 million: Identity theft
  • $4.3 million: Threats to life, arrest or other
  • $2.8 million: Classified scams
  • $2.6 million: Inheritance scams

Age

  • Of those over 18 years old, losses are primarily reported by people aged 55–64 (21%), while people aged 18–24 reported the lowest number of losses (4%).
  • Of those over 18 years old, reports are primarily filed by people aged 65 and over (21%), while people aged 18–24 file fewer reports (9%).

Gender

  • 78 551 reports were filed by men, totalling $77.5 million. The most common type of scam used was an investment scam.
  • 85 486 reports were filed by women, totalling $63.6 million. The most common type of scam used was a dating or romance scam.

Top contact methods by reports

  • 41.4% of people were contacted by scammers via a phone call, with 7% of people being contacted via the internet.

Previous reports

See the archive of all Targeting scams reports from 2009.