For everyone Scammers never sleep

  • By Geoff Allen
  • This article was published more than 4 years ago.
  • 1 Apr 2020

It can take a long time to accumulate wealth and an instant to lose it. Unfortunately, there are now myriad ways for scammers and opportunists to relieve you of some or all of your hard-earned savings and it can happen to anyone. Remaining alert and maintaining a healthy scepticism about any third-party request for personal information or money can keep scammers at bay.

As human beings, we want to trust others, to lend a hand, to donate, to help out. Sadly, these traits now need to be accompanied by some basic risk management strategies, given the ever-present nature of scammers.

Over $30m was lost via phone-based scams and $24m via email.

In recent years, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been actively addressing the risk of scams, publishing an excellent booklet, The Little Black Book of Scams, and an annual report, Targeting Scams, which provide comprehensive information on existing scams, scam trends and statistics.

These publications seek to minimise harm through education and information distribution. I strongly recommend reading The Little Black Book, which not only identifies current scams but also outlines the ‘golden rules of self-protection’ and where to get support if something does go wrong.

If you need further encouragement, the statistics contained in the ACCC Targeting Scams report are chilling. For example:

  • Total reported (annual) losses of $490 million from 380,000 sources. The top two scams for losses were through investment ($86m), and dating and romance ($61m).

  • All age groups suffer losses but older Australians (55–64) tend to suffer greater losses than other age groups.

  • Over $30m was lost via phone-based scams and $24m via email.

  • Reports of phone and text scams increased, with the most common involving phishing and threats to life or loss of benefits, etc.

The two publications mentioned above can be accessed readily through the ACCC website and take little time to read and absorb. And that time could be one of the best investments you ever make!

Note: This article is in no way intended to provide you with personal advice and you should discuss your own circumstances with your authorised financial adviser before committing to any decisions on matters raised in this article.

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