Australians lose 70 million USD to scams in 2018's first 11 months

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-23 14:58:05|Editor: mym
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CANBERRA, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Australians were scammed out of 100 million Australian dollars (70.4 million U.S. dollars) in the first 11 months of 2018.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that its Scamwatch tracker for 2018 was sitting at 101.8 million Australian dollars (71.6 million U.S. dollars) in reported losses as of the end of November, up from 90.9 million Australian dollars (64 million U.S. dollars) in 2017.

The rate of scam reports where an individual has actually lost money has grown from 8.7 percent in 2017 to 10.2 percent.

Experts have warned that scammers have adopted a more sophisticated and personal approach by using the actual details of their targets.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in July warned of a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, which threatened legal action over outstanding tax debts.

"It (the scam) is probably happening across a wider sphere, it's everything from intimidating phone calls to carefully constructed emails," Jason Sharp, director of Macquarie Business Accountants, told Fairfax Media on Saturday.

However, he said there was one positive from the elaborate scams in that awareness has been boosted.

"You use their own weapons against them. It's very easy to take an example of a new kind of scam and put it out to social media (as a warning)," he said.

The ATO received 4000 reports of scam calls in July alone with targets losing 107,000 Australian dollars (75,366 U.S. dollars).

By December, the number of reports have grown to 27,100 and the total loss have grown to 830,000 Australian dollars (584,615 U.S. dollars).

1The Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network and ACCC in 2016 found that Australians lost more than 300 million Australian dollars (211 million U.S. dollars) to scammers.