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.
In 2018, almost half a billion dollars ($489 million) in losses from over 378,000 scam reports was reported to the ACCC, the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and other state and territory government agencies. These losses represent an increase of 44 per cent over the $340 million reported in 2017 and demonstrate that the impact of scams on the Australian public is worsening.
Despite these record loss figures, the true cost of scams is likely much higher as many scams are not reported. The reasons for this vary. Some scam victims are embarrassed, some are unaware of where to report scams and others may fear the consequences of their own behaviour, particularly if they are manipulated into committing crimes such as money laundering or participating in pyramid schemes. Unfortunately, there are also many Australians who are not aware that they are caught up in long-term scams and continue to send money to scammers for years. The losses reported to the government are just the tip of the iceberg.