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Scams leave nasty bite & Australians $33m out of pocket in November
Thu, 16th Dec 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Scammers snatched a whopping $33 million from Australians in November, with investment scams accounting for almost two thirds (65%) of total losses, according to figures from Proofpoint and Scamwatch.

A bulletin from Proofpoint notes that Australians reported fewer scams in November compared to the previous month, November was still a profitable month for cybercriminals.

Investment scams increased a mild 8% on the previous month but the amount of money lost almost doubled, suggesting that it is now easier for criminals to steal more money from Australians. These types of scams have cost $150 million, up from $65 million in 2020.

Dating and romance scams cost $5.6 million; remote access scams cost $1.5 million, followed by classified scams, online shopping scams, and rebate/reimbursement scams.

Australians reported phishing scams the most (4,418 reports), a drop from the previous month's figures. Other reports involved threats to life or arrest, identity theft scams, and dating and romance scams.

According to Proofpoint Australia and New Zealand area vice president Crispin Kerr, it's disheartening to see that more than $33 million was lost in a single month, and it doesn't seem like scammers are slowing down in the lead up to the holiday season.

“Scammers continue to rip off Australians, taking their hard-earned money with the promise of fake investment opportunities and get-rich-quick schemes. The significant increase in November shows how scammers are leveraging the festive season, knowing investments can be an attractive opportunity to get extra cash ahead of Christmas. Of course, these offers are always too good to be true, but scammers will use cheap tricks and a sense of urgency to pressure people into making rash decisions with their money.

According to the research, phone scams are the most profitable type of scam for cybercriminals. From the 9,530 reports received, criminals raked in $12 million, double the amount lost in October. Mobile app scams equated to $5.5 million, an increase of 72% over the previous month. Social networking scams accounted for $5.5 million, followed by internet scams at $4.6 million.

Australians over 65 were the most financially impacted by scams in November, affecting 29% or $9.2 million of all losses. Losses from Australians aged 18-34 decreased during the month. Australians over 65 reported the most significant number of scams with 3,277 reports, followed by Australians aged 35 to 44 with 2,778 reports.

“Australians mustn't get complacent and always err on the side of caution when it comes to any text message, email or phone call they receive. Ensuring older family members are also educated on how to spot a scam can help prevent further devastating losses during the holiday season,” concludes Kerr.