Research report

Consumer fraud in Australia: costs, rates and awareness of risks in 2008

19 Oct 2009
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This paper examines the current evidence of the cost, extent of and awareness of consumer fraud in Australia. In 2008, the ABS found that approximately five percent of the Australian population reported being victimised by consumer scams, with personal losses reaching almost $1b. This paper compares the findings of the ABS survey with those gathered by the AIC during the annual fraud awareness-raising activities conducted by the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce. In 2008, a self-selected sample of 919 respondents to the AIC’s online survey reported being victimised by a wide variety of scams, including those relating to fictitious lotteries, phishing scams, financial advice and other attempts to elicit personal information from respondents. Individuals from all age groups were targeted in these scams, with older Australians being victimised to a similar extent to those in their middle years. Armed with an understanding of the nature and scope of the risks, consumer protection and other regulatory agencies can tailor their fraud prevention activities to maximise their impact—therefore reducing the extent to which consumers take up offers which are too good to be true.

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